The minimum penalty for a money laundering conviction depends on the specifics of the case in question. The first step to take when charged is to contact a Los Angeles money laundering attorney who can represent your interests and make sure your rights are protected.
Prosecutors in California can pursue a charge in a money laundering case as either a misdemeanor or a felony. This usually depends on the activity associated with the “dirty money,” the amount of money involved, and the extent of the money laundering network. In more serious cases connected to organized crime, a defendant may also face racketeering charges.
California’s Penalties For Money Laundering
The lowest form of penalty for money laundering is a misdemeanor. This generally carries the following possible penalties:
- Jail time: Up to one year in county jail
- Fine: No more than $1,000
- Combination: Jail time and a fine
For defendants facing felony money laundering charges, however, the consequences are generally much more severe:
- Jail time: A minimum sentence of 16 months and up to four years in jail
- Fine: The fine is up to $250,000, or twice the amount of money laundered. For the purposes of calculating the fine, the court imposes the higher of the two amounts
- Combination: Jail time and a fine
A misdemeanor money laundering conviction has no set minimum penalty. Instead, the court is limited to a maximum jail sentence of one year and a maximum fine of $1,000. However, a felony money laundering conviction has a minimum jail sentence of 16 months.
For a free legal consultation, call (310) 896-2723
California’s Penalties For Federal Money Laundering Convictions
Federal money laundering charges are even more serious than felony charges. This is because there is evidence of organized crime, drug trafficking, federal tax evasion, or another serious issue.
The penalties for a federal money laundering conviction generally include the following:
- Jail time: A maximum sentence of 20 years in a federal prison
- Fine: Up to $500,000 or twice the amount of money that was laundered. Again, the courts take the larger of the two amounts when deciding this fine
- Combination: Jail time and a fine
If you were charged with federal money laundering, contacting a money laundering attorney from our firm is the most important step toward securing the best possible outcome.
Can I Get A Job After A Sentence For Money Laundering In California?
If you’re convicted of money laundering, after your sentence, it might be difficult to get a job. It could be especially difficult to get any kind of government job. Depending on your field of work, you may never be able to find a job there again.
If you manage to find another job in your field of work, you may find that your colleagues and the management treat you differently and trust you less even if your charges aren’t related to the job or field of work. This could affect your relationships with these people as well as your prospects for moving up in the company.
One of our firm’s attorneys can help you avoid a conviction or help to get your charge reduced.
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Key Components Of A Money Laundering Case In California
California’s State Penal Code Section 186.10 is straightforward regarding what the prosecution must prove in a money laundering case. To be convicted of such a crime, it must be shown that you performed at least one illegal monetary transaction at a financial institution.
This transaction or set of transactions must be shown to total more than $5,000 over a seven-day period or more than $25,000 over a thirty-day period. However, simply performing those transactions is not enough for a money laundering conviction.
It must also be shown that you intended to make that transaction (or series of transactions) for the purpose of carrying out or funding an illegal activity. One way the prosecution could prove this is by showing you made the transaction with full knowledge of the “dirty origins” of the money.
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Activities Related To Money Laundering
Activities that are illegal to fund, and thus are often cited in money laundering cases, include:
- Human trafficking
- Drug trafficking
- Organized crime
- Child pornography
- Violent crimes
- Sexual crimes
Paying for any of those activities, or using money obtained through those activities to invest in other financial endeavors to “launder” or “clean” the money, is considered money laundering.
Defenses To Money Laundering In California
If you lacked the intent to launder money or did not know the funds in question were derived from a criminal source, this would be a legitimate defense. Such defenses can shield banks and other financial institutions from prosecution since they simply provide banking services and are not knowingly part of a money laundering scheme.
One of our firm’s criminal defense lawyers can use certain legal strategies to challenge money laundering charges. Some defenses your attorney could make include:
- You did not act with a specific intent to promote criminal or illegal activity
- You deposited only a small amount of money
- There was an error in certain paperwork that led to a misunderstanding
- The victim didn’t suffer a loss or any other kind of injury
- Law enforcement violated one of your constitutional rights
- The evidence against you isn’t convincing enough to convict you beyond a reasonable doubt
- Certain evidence was obtained illegally and is therefore inadmissible
Some of those defenses could result in your charges being dropped or reduced. If your charges are reduced, they’ll have lighter penalties attached to them.
Money Laundering In Connection With Controlled Substance Charges In California
California Health and Safety Code 11370.9 describes money laundering in connection with controlled substance crimes. If you are facing this charge, you can expect the prosecution to prove these three things to convict you of money laundering in connection with controlled substance crimes:
- The defendant received or engaged in financial transactions involving money or tangible property that they understood to have come from a controlled substance offense
- The defendant concealed or disguised the source, ownership, or control of the money
- The amount of money laundered totaled more than $25,000 over a 30-day period
How A California Attorney Can Help
It can be difficult to deal with even the minimum sentence for money laundering in California. Any jail time can be devastating for an individual and their family. To help you avoid any sentence or to alleviate your sentence, a white-collar attorney from our firm can:
- Communicate with other parties on your behalf: In speaking to the authorities or anyone else, you may end up incriminating yourself. Your attorney can speak to them instead to avoid that self-incrimination.
- Investigate the case against you: If the case is weak or lacking, your attorney can use this against the prosecution.
- Build your case for you: If your case isn’t weak or lacking, your attorney will find and present evidence to the prosecution and the judge. Such evidence could be the police report and a financial expert’s testimony.
- Establish your defense: Your attorney will consider all the methods of defending you and choose the one(s) that may serve you best.
- Consider all your options: There may be additional legal options to consider, such as bail, a plea bargain, or an expungement of your charges from your records.
About Our Money Laundering Defense Lawyers In California
Our California criminal defense lawyers have decades of experience handling criminal cases, including money laundering cases, like yours. Our head criminal defense lawyer, Michael Simmrin, has much experience handling jury trials, and our friends in the legal space provide additional resources and testimonies for our cases.
We have the team, the relationships, and the resources we need to handle your case. Upon hiring your attorney, you’ll receive our services at no charge unless and until your attorney recovers compensation for you. We’ll tell you more about this payment arrangement during a free consultation.
Combating Money Laundering Charges In California
Money laundering is a serious crime whether it is prosecuted on the state or federal level. Even a state-level misdemeanor can carry up to one year in jail and a fine of up $1,000. If you were charged with money laundering of any kind, the first step you should take is to see a criminal defense lawyer from our firm. We can help you defend yourself against the sentence for money laundering in California.
Fill out our online contact form or call us to receive a FREE initial consultation with a team member at Simmrin Law Group. Don’t hesitate. Contact us today!