Money laundering charges are serious. They typically accompany other felony offenses, so you’re likely looking at years in prison. State or federal authorities may initiate these charges. In any case, you are facing significant criminal penalties.

Your best chance of avoiding the harshest consequences of a money laundering charge is to work with a Folsom money laundering lawyer who understands the law and can use it to build you a strong defense. Call Walsh Law today at 916-237-8270 or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential case consultation.

What Is Money Laundering?

Money laundering (California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC) occurs when an offender attempts to conceal the origins of illegally obtained money. That typically takes place through transfers involving foreign banks and legitimate businesses.

Dirty money may be obtained through drug trafficking, prostitution, embezzlement, fraud, or other crimes. These are often white-collar crimes committed by people who are entrusted with money. Money laundering is often a secondary offense to one of these primary offenses.

Elements of Money Laundering in California

Prosecutors must prove three elements of money laundering beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.

1. Transactions completed through financial institutions

The prosecutor must be able to show that you completed a transaction or series of transactions through a financial institution.

2. Amount of transactions

The transaction(s) must total more than $5,000 in a seven-day period or more than $25,000 in a 30-day period. Some people who launder money try to avoid this element by breaking transactions into smaller amounts.

3. Intent or knowledge

The prosecutor must prove that you had the intent to promote criminal activity, or you knew that the funds involved were the proceeds of criminal activity. If you were roped into a scheme with no knowledge of criminal activity, then you should not be convicted of money laundering.

Charges Related to Money Laundering

Facing money laundering charges is severe enough, but you will also likely be charged with related offenses, including:

  • Drug Crimes: If money laundering is in connection with drug crimes, you may be charged under California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.9 HC. Like money laundering, this also requires intent or knowledge of criminal activity.
  • Grand Theft (California Penal Code Section 487(a) PC): If you steal a large sum of money and attempt to launder it so that it cannot be traced, you may face charges for theft as well as money laundering.
  • Federal Money Laundering (18 U.S. Code 1956 and 18 U.S. Code 1955): Money laundering is often a federal offense that can result in even more serious penalties. This is true if the act involves interstate commerce.

A Folsom money laundering attorney can explain all the charges you are facing and help you fight to get them reduced or dismissed.

Penalties for Money Laundering in California

Under California law, money laundering is a “wobbler” offense. That means that it could be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of the case and your criminal history.

As a misdemeanor, money laundering can result in up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

As a felony, money laundering may carry a sentence of up to three years in prison and a maximum fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount of money laundered, whichever is greater. If you have prior money laundering convictions, your fine may be up to $500,000 or five times the laundered amount, whichever is greater.

Additionally, if the amount of money laundered in California exceeds $50,000, then you may receive an extra year of prison added to your sentence. If the amount laundered exceeds $2,500,000, you may have an additional four years of prison added to your sentence.

If you are charged with money laundering in federal court, you could face up to 20 years in federal prison and steep fines.

Other Potential Consequences for Money Laundering

In addition to these criminal penalties, you could face the following collateral consequences for money laundering:

  • Business closure
  • Reputation damage
  • Increased costs for business compliance and security
  • Reduced access to financial services
  • Regulatory and legal action for your business
  • Employment restrictions
  • Loss of professional licensure
  • Difficulty obtaining housing and loans
  • Limited access to government benefits
  • Deportation if you are not a U.S. citizen

Defenses for Money Laundering in Folsom

Your situation may feel impossible if you’re facing money laundering charges. However, you have options to defend yourself with the help of a Folsom money laundering attorney like Chris Walsh. He knows the tactics of prosecutors because he used to be one. Now, he aggressively advocates for people like you.

You Didn’t Know the Funds Were Illegal

To convict you of money laundering, the prosecution must prove that you knew the funds you were handling were derived from illegal activity. If you can show that you did not have knowledge of the illegal source of the funds, you can present a strong defense.

The Prosecution Has Insufficient Evidence

The prosecution must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If your money laundering defense attorney can show that there is insufficient evidence to support the charges, this may lead to a dismissal of the case.

There Was Entrapment

If law enforcement officials induced you to engage in money laundering activities that you would not have otherwise participated in, this may constitute entrapment and provide a valid defense.

Money Laundering Charge FAQs

Why is money laundering a crime?

Money laundering is a crime because it allows criminals to enjoy the fruits of their illegal activity without being caught. It also allows criminals to reinvest their illicit profits in further criminal activity. Additionally, money laundering can undermine the integrity of the financial system and make it more difficult for businesses to operate.

What are red flags of money laundering?

Several red flags can indicate that money laundering is taking place. These include large cash transactions, suspicious wire transfers, complex or unusual transactions, customers with no apparent source of funds, and customers who are reluctant to provide information about themselves or their businesses.

What should I do if I’m being investigated for money laundering?

You should immediately contact a money laundering attorney who can help you navigate the process. Do not discuss the investigation with anyone.

Avoid engaging in any further suspicious activity and preserve anything that could be evidence, including financial records, bank statements, emails, and any other relevant paperwork.

Be prepared for a long process. Money laundering investigations can be lengthy and complex. It’s best to be patient.

Get Help from a Folsom Money Laundering Lawyer

The penalties of money laundering and related charges can affect every area of your life. The Folsom money laundering attorneys at Walsh Law know state and federal laws that apply to your case. We know how to use that information to protect your reputation and clear your name. Contact us as soon as possible so that we can get started on your case.

Call 916-237-8270 today or fill out our secure contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.

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