Money laundering is a criminal offense that is typically associated with racketeering operations and organized crime. It essentially refers to making a financial transaction -- or multiple ones -- with money you gained by participating in criminal activity.
If you face a money laundering accusation in New York, you may feel nervous about what your future holds. Will you end up behind bars, and how will your reputation in the community change? Fortunately, you have the right to fight this type of charge in an effort to preserve your innocence and your freedom.
What does money laundering involve?
Individuals might commit laundering in an effort to hide the ownership, location, control or source of money acquired through criminal activities. After money has been laundered, the income that these individuals generate will appear to stem from sources that are legitimate. In fact, these individuals will report the income for tax purposes. Of course, money laundering violates New York law.
Consequences for money laundering in New York
According to New York law, the severity of the punishment you face for a laundering conviction depends on how much money allegedly laundered. For instance, if the government can prove that you laundered over $5,000 (fourth-degree offense), you can spend up to four years in prison. Meanwhile, laundering over $50,000 (third-degree offense) will get you up to seven years behind bars.
If you laundered over $100,000 (second-degree offense), you can expect to spend up to 15 years in prison. Finally, if authorities prove that you laundered over a million dollars (first-degree offense), you can expect to spend up to 25 years behind bars.
How to ensure that you have the best defense
If you face a laundering charge, it is within your rights to proceed to trial to fight the charge. Several defenses could be used on your behalf, including the following:
- You had no knowledge that the money you used in a financial transaction was generated through illegal means.
- You never intended to carry out or support criminal actions.
- You were the victim of entrapment that police officers arranged.
The ultimate goal of a meaningful defense is to help you achieve the most personally favorable outcome possible considering the facts surrounding your money laundering case. If you would like more information on possible defense strategies, legal professionals may be able to help.