In the state of New York and across the United States, money laundering is a crime that is typically associated with racketeering operations and organized crime. In most circumstances, money laundering is used to describe multiple transactions or a single financial transaction which uses money that was gained through criminal activities. In general, this is used to hide the location, control, source, or ownership of money to cover up criminal conduct.
In recent years, the term money laundering has come to be intermixed with other forms of criminal acts that surround the use of finances. For example, money laundering may not jut be used with cash, but also with digital currencies, securities, and debit or credit cards.
Regardless of the nature of a New York money laundering scheme, there are three phases that all launderers use when attempting to hide illegal income. The three steps involved include placement, layering, and integration. Money launderers will often establish anonymous legitimate companies in certain countries and use false import-export invoices that overvalue goods which might allow for the transfer of money from one country to another, or one illegal business venture to a legal one. In these circumstances, the fake invoices serve to verify the origin of the money.
Laws and Penalties
Money laundering in New York is a very serious criminal offense that can have a huge impact on the lives of the individuals who are prosecuted. If you are convicted of money laundering, then you could be facing some serious penalties, partly as a result of the connection between money laundering and things like international terrorism or organized crime.
In New York, the current legal statutes establish a range of potential consequences that might occur as a result of money laundering. The fine and sentence for laundering will depend on the degree of the crime as it is charged by the prosecuting party. Also, money laundering charges in New York can be levied in the first, second, third, or fourth degree – with the most serious offenses earning first degree convictions. Money laundering that is convicted in the fourth degree can result in a Class E felony that leads to a prison sentence of up to four years. Alternatively, a charge of money laundering in the first degree could lead to a sentence of up to twenty-five years.
The level of the offense generally depends on the total value of the financial transactions that have been taking place. For example, the state establishes a different and severe degree of money laundering when transactions exceed $5,000, $50,000, $100,000, and one million dollars. What’s more, an increase to the degree of money laundering can be allowed in New York if the proceeds of the sales come from drug trafficking or the use of illegal substances. What’s more, state laws also establish that offense levels may be heightened in cases which involve the support of terrorist organizations or terrorism.
While fines can also be applied as penalties to money laundering convictions, it’s worth noting that the fines given in New York usually are not allowed to exceed more than double the value of the financial transaction that first initiated the charge for money laundering.
Money Laundering Defenses
Just as with many crimes across the United States, it is possible to levy a defense against a charge of money laundering under the correct circumstances. Defenses include:
- The ability of the defense lawyer to prove that the defendant had no knowledge regarding the nature of the money or where the money came from. If the lawyer can prove that there was no knowledge of criminal activity, a money laundering conviction might be dropped.
- A lawyer might also use a defense that proves a lack of intent to support or carry out any criminal behavior in the collection of money. That lack of intent may also extend to a lack of intent to hide, disguise, or conceal the nature of the money that was received, or the proceeds that were gained thanks to criminal conduct.
- The final option that lawyers in New York might use for defense in a case of money laundering, involves proving entrapment was engaged in by the law enforcement officials that were involved in the case. This measure must prove that the behavior of law enforcement forced an individual to engage in laundering activities.
Statute of Limitations
Because money laundering is a federal crime, the strictures of federal law suggest that no one can be prosecuted for an instance of money laundering if that person has not been charged within five years of committing the offense.
New York Money Laundering Cases
- Defendant pleads guilty to money laundering conspiracy in New York
- Former NYPD cop chargd with prostitution and money laundering
- New York City brothel operators charged with money laundering
- Drug trafficking kingpin pleads guilty to money laundering, marijuana trafficking, murders, and more
- Russia settles with Bank of N.Y. Mellon on money laundering case