Money laundering is a financial scheme where an individual gains money from a criminal act. One of the most common criminal acts used for money laundering is tax evasion.
There are three parts to money laundering:
- The launderer gains money from an illegal activity.
- The launderer puts the money through a scheme to hide a criminal act.
- The money is returned to the launderer.
Money laundering can use shell companies, which are fake companies where launders can set-up accounts to deposit and withdrawal money from.
The term “laundering” is used because these schemes are attempting to make money from illegal (a.k.a. dirty) activities while appearing that the profits were gained from legal (a.k.a. clean) activities. Money laundering is considered a white collar crime.
Money Laundering is a Federal Crime
Under the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986, money laundering is considered a federal crime. There are two sections to this law.
The first is 18 U.S. Code § 1956, which states that anyone who has committed money laundering can receive a fine of up to $500,000 and/or up to twenty years in prison.
The second section is 18 U.S. Code § 1957, which states that if the criminal activity resulted in more than $10,000, it will be punished according to 18 U.S. Code § 1956.
Money Laundering: Arizona Laws & Penalties
A.R.S. 13-2317 distinguishes whether someone is guilty of money laundering in the first degree, second degree, or third degree.
- If charged with money laundering in the first degree, an individual is accused of knowingly initiating, organizing, managing, and or directing the scheme. This is a class two felony that is punishable with 12.5 years in prison for first time offenders.
- If charged in the second degree, an individual is accused of maintaining an interest in, making property available, providing false information to the government, or transmitting money. This results in a class three felony with 8.75 years imprisonment for first time offenders.
- If charged with money laundering in the third degree, a person is accused of helping transmit money for the scheme. This is a class six felony that is punishable with up to two years in prison for first time offenders.
Accused of money laundering in Arizona?
If you are charged with committing money laundering in Arizona, contact JacksonWhite’s criminal defense team for experienced representation!