New York City Money Laundering Lawyer
If you have been charged with money laundering, now is the time to call a criminal defense attorney. This is a serious crime, under both state and federal laws. If convicted, you could face high fines and a long prison sentence.
These charges often accompany other serious charges, such as tax evasion, selling stolen goods, drug distribution or manufacturing, and trafficking.
You need an experienced New York City money laundering lawyer who can defend you in court. If you are facing financial criminal charges in New York City, call an adept white collar defense attorney to discuss your case.
What is Money Laundering?
Someone who tries to disguise criminal proceeds as legally earned money could face money laundering charges. Here is a common example of illegally laundering funds: someone earns cash through criminal activity, such as prostitution or selling stolen goods.
They then set up a seemingly legitimate business and process fake transactions. Then, they claim that the illegally earned money came from the apparent legitimate business transactions.
In this way, the origin of the criminal profit is concealed through the fake company and can be used without the suspicion that the money came from criminal activity.
Money Laundering Charges in New York City
New York state law defines four degrees of money laundering ranging from the least serious (4th degree) to the most serious (1st degree). The severity of the crime, the specific method of concealment, and the amount of money involved all determine which degree of money laundering someone could face.
The degree of the crime also dictates the possible punishment someone could face if convicted.
- Fourth-degree, a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison
- Third-degree, a class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison
- Second-degree, a class C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison
- First-degree, a class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison
In addition to a prison sentence, someone convicted of money laundering in New York may be required to pay a steep fine. New York Penal Law Section 470.25 allows courts to impose fines up to twice the amount of money involved in the offense. Given the stiff potential penalties for conviction, anyone charged with money laundering should call a defense lawyer in New York City.
Facing Federal Charges for Money Laundering
Both state and federal law prohibit laundering funds. Many accused of money laundering are prosecuted against federal law. When federal prosecutors file these charges, they often file other similar charges stemming from the alleged crime.
One such related charge is tax evasion. Obviously, those who launder illicit profits are unlikely to report that income on their federal taxes returns.
Most federal prosecutors see money laundering and tax evasion as two sides of the same coin and can charge one defendant with both crimes. Like money laundering, tax evasion is a felony meaning that anyone convicted could face time in federal prison.
The federal consequences attached to a money laundering conviction depend on a range of factors, including any other related offenses for which the accused is charged, and the amount of funds involved. A federal conviction can be punishable by 20 years in jail, and in some cases, fines ranging as high as $500,000 or twice the amount of the laundered funds. If someone conspired to launder funds, they could face federal charges and a prison term of up to five years plus fines.
What Determines Whether Money Laundering is Charged as a Federal or State Crime?
When a money laundering offense involves criminal activity that occurs in more than one state, an individual may face federal legal consequences. The act of money laundering itself is often directly related to other illegal acts, such as drug trafficking or bank fraud, which frequently traverse state boundaries.
As such, it is common for these charges to open the accused up to federal penalties, which can be considerably higher than the legal punishments for a conviction for money laundering on the state level.
What Are Common Defense Strategies to a Money Laundering Charge?
One potential defense that a New York City attorney may use in a money laundering case is arguing that the accused did not have knowledge that the funds were acquired from unlawful activities. To reach a conviction, the prosecutor must prove that the accused knew the illegal origin of the funds.
Sometimes, it may be possible to prove that the origin of the money was not illegal, in which case a laundering charge may not hold. A lawyer could review all evidence and information available to formulate a defense and move for a reduction or possible dismissal of charges.
Contact a New York City Money Laundering Attorney
White collar criminal cases are complicated because they require intense analysis of financial data. If you are facing money laundering, tax evasion, or related charges, you need an attorney who can handle the complexities of your case. Call a New York money laundering lawyer now to learn how an attorney can help you.