Money laundering is a very serious white-collar crime that is punishable by state and federal laws. Money laundering is when criminals disguise the original ownership or control of the proceeds of criminal activity by making such proceeds appear to have come from a legitimate source. A simpler definition for money laundering is someone making a profit out of a crime. You can be charged with money laundering if you knowingly acquire, have a constant interest in, conceal, possess, transport or transfer the proceeds of a criminal act. You can also be charged with this white-collar crime if you invest, expend or receive the proceeds of a criminal activity, or by offering to do so. It often occurs that business partners and employees of someone that is involved in money laundering also receive charges. This can be fought in court, since it is likely that these individuals had no knowledge of the activity.

The Prosecutor Must Prove:

In order to be convicted, the prosecutor must prove that the person in question was aware that the activity, in which the proceeds came from, was of a criminal nature.

Defense Against Money Laundering Charges

The person in question cannot be convicted if they had absolutely no knowledge of where they money or proceeds were actually coming from. The person in question can also escape or be excused from conviction if they were part of the money laundering process to aid law enforcement in seizing the funds and catching the real criminals. Certain attorneys can escape conviction if the proceeds that they were given were legal fees and that they did not know that the money came from a source that was involved in money laundering.

Penalties of Money Laundering

Potential jail time and fines are at risk with any form of money laundering at any amount of money being laundered. If found guilty of laundering money in a federal court, you can receive up to 20 years of jail time. However, the severity of the charges and how much money was laundered affect what charge is being given.

  • An amount of $1,500.00 to below $20,000.00 is considered to be a felony under state law.

  • An amount of $20,000.00 to below $100,000.00 is considered to be a third degree felony.

  • An amount of $100,000.00 to below $200,000.00 is considered to be a second degree felony.

  • An amount of $200,000.00 and higher is considered to be a first degree felony.

A great example of how a money laundering scheme can end up is the story of Jordan Belfort. Belfort wrote The Wolf of Wall Street, a real life account of what he did and how he ended up serving time for money laundering and fraud. A movie was recently produced and released, based off of his book.

If you or anyone that you know has been involved in money laundering, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. If you live around the Georgetown area in Texas, contact The Law Office of Gregory R. Terra. Terra Law Firm is experienced in money laundering charges and many other charges. Contact our office at 512-635-4368 if you have questions regarding money laundering or need legal assistance.