Sometimes, individuals find themselves in possession of “dirty” money, or money gained through illicit means such as gambling or drug sales. Getting these funds to appear legitimate is a criminal act in California. Individuals who attempt it can be prosecuted under California Penal Code Section 186.10: Money Laundering.
Money laundering can be a complicated charge to understand, and not only because this act may also be prosecuted under:
- California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.9
- 18 U.S. Code 1955
- 18 U.S. Code 1956
Find out how these charges differ from one another and learn about the consequences for a money laundering conviction right here. The Simmrin Law Group can even help you understand various defenses to PC 186.10 charges.
Go Over the Definition of PC 186.10
The legal system in the state of California uses PC 186.10 to prosecute specific acts of money laundering. Individuals should only face PC 186.10 charges if they:
- Complete One or More Financial Transactions
- While Aiming to Promote Criminal Activity OR
- With the Knowledge That They Were Using Funds Associated with Criminal Activity
Individuals can be charged for completing a number of different financial transactions, including:
- Exchanges of Funds
You should be aware that the transactions must involve a minimum amount of funds for PC 186.10 charges to apply. Generally, individuals can only be charged under PC 186.10 if they complete transactions involving:
- Over $5,000 Within a 7-Day Period
- Over $25,000 Within a 30-Day Period
Other Money Laundering Charges in California
As we mentioned previously, PC 186.10 is not the only charge used to prosecute money laundering in California. Individuals may also face criminal charges under:
California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.9
HSC 11370.9 deals specifically with acts of money laundering involving illicit funds associated with drug crimes. For example, anyone who attempted to legitimize monies gained through the sale of illicit substances would be charged under HSC 11370.9, not PC 186.10.
18 U.S. Code 1955 and 18 U.S. Code 1956
The federal court system sometimes steps in to handle money laundering charges in California. Federal money laundering charges are prosecuted under 18 U.S. Code 1955 or U.S. Code 1956. Generally, federal charges are used if the crime crosses state lines.
Results of a Money Laundering Conviction
Money laundering is a white-collar crime that does not harm anyone. However, the penalties for a conviction can be very severe. Each of the charges used to prosecute money laundering has slightly different penalties, including:
PC 186.10 Penalties:
- Up to $250,000 in Fines
- Up to 3 Years in Prison
Note that – in specific situations – these penalties can increase. The court can increase fines to up to $500,000 if someone was previously convicted of money laundering. Additionally, individuals who launder over $2,500,000 may have up to 4 years added to their sentence.
HSC 11370.9 Penalties:
- Up to $250,000 in Fines
- Up to 4 Years in Prison
18 U.S. Code 1955 and 18 U.S. Code 1956 Penalties
- Up to $500,000 in Fines
- Up to 20 Years in Federal Prison
As you can see, federal charges for money laundering can be especially harsh. Due to the tremendous fines associated with a money laundering conviction, it is important to get help from a criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as charges are made.
Building a Defense for Money Laundering Charges in California
Money laundering charges can have severe impacts if you are convicted. You can increase the odds that you will beat the charges brought against you by contacting a criminal defense lawyer who can work to show that:
You Did Not Know You Were Using “Dirty” Money
You should not face charges for money laundering if you thought you were conducting financial transactions using legitimate funds. This means that employees who are asked to make deposits and withdrawals should not be prosecuted if they were unaware that they were using illegitimate funds.
You Did Not Make Transactions Involving Enough Money
Money laundering charges should only apply if an individual makes transactions involving $5,000 in 7 days or $25,000 in 30 days. If your actions fell below this threshold, a criminal defense lawyer may be able to build your case.
Get Professional Help Handling Money Laundering Charges
A conviction under California Penal Code Section 186.10: Money Laundering can lead to incredibly high fines and a lengthy period of incarceration. Get help addressing these charges the right way by contacting the Simmrin Law Group. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers can offer you a FREE initial case evaluation today.
Get information about money laundering charges by completing our online contact form, or by calling (310) 997-4688.