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Last Updated on: 27th May 2023, 12:19 pm
In general, money laundering can be defined as the deliberate use of what would otherwise be legal financial transactions that are employed to conceal the origin, amount, and ownership of money that was obtained through any activity that could be taken as a criminal activity under New York’s Penal Code.
As defined in NY State Penal Law 470.20, first degree money laundering occurs when:
The defendant knew, or should have known, that the money in question was derived from a criminal enterprise.
The purpose of the alleged money laundering transaction was to deliberately conceal the actual source or ownership of the money in question.
The amount of money in question is greater than $1 million
New York’s penal code also allows a money laundering charge to be “enhanced” (prosecuted as a higher-degree crime) if it can be shown that the source of the laundered funds was from drug trafficking or if the laundered funds were to be used for the purpose of terrorism.
Although the definition of money laundering in the context of this article refers to prosecutions under the laws of New York State, there are also federal laws that criminalize money laundering under a much broader set of circumstances than does New York. Since a federal prosecution can also be used to link money laundering to crimes such as tax evasion or operating a criminal enterprise that falls under the provisions of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a conviction on a money laundering in the first-degree charge could lead to a very long prison term.
State of New York criminal penalties for first degree money laundering
In the State of New York, a conviction on a charge of money laundering in the first degree is a Class B felony and can lead to a prison sentence of up to 25 years in prison and a fine that is equal to twice the amount of money involved in the transaction(s) that led to the conviction. Since, by definition, a first-degree money laundering charge must exceed at least $1 million, the fine that could be imposed could exceed $2 million.
Defenses against a charge of money laundering in the first degree
As in any criminal charge, it is the responsibility of the state’s prosecutor to prove that any defendant is guilty of a crime rather than having the defendant prove that they are not guilty. In a charge of money laundering in the first degree, defenses that may be raised by a New York City criminal defense lawyer include:
The defendant had no knowledge, or a reason to suspect, that money in question was derived from a criminal enterprise or that such money had been used to purchase property or other assets sold by the defendant.
The defendant did not deliberately structure a financial transaction of any amount in a way that was designed to conceal the identity of one or more parties to that transaction.
The actual cash value of the transaction did not exceed the threshold necessary to merit a charge of money laundering in the first degree.
Due to the potentially-severe penalties that can be imposed upon a conviction on a charge of money laundering in the first degree, it is essential that anyone charged with this offense obtain the representation of an experienced New York City criminal lawyer as soon as they become aware that they are facing such a charge.
New York Penal Law 470.05: Money laundering in the fourth degree
One of the more serious white collar crimes in the New York Penal Code today is money laundering. Money laundering is essentially the process of turning money that is received from illegal activity into money that appears to be from a legal activity. Due to the severity of the crime, there are actually eight offenses in total that are in the penal code that are related to it.
One of the more serious money laundering charges in the New York penal code is money laundering in the fourth degree. You could be charged with money laundering in the fourth degree if you knowingly hide money to avoid it from being reported, transfer illegal money into legal money for sums in excess of $5,000, or simply use a financial transaction to try and hide another criminal act.
Due to the complexity of money laundering in the fourth degree, there are a lot of different potential examples. One example of money laundering would be if a thief were to steal $50,000. Instead of taking all of the money at one time and depositing it into one account, the theft will instead open a lot of different accounts and deposit the money over time at different banks. This process could reduce suspicion of each bank, would help to cover up the initial crime, and would then be considered money laundering in the fourth degree.
Defense of the Crime
Due to the complexity of money laundering in the fourth degree, most prosecutors will have a lot of historical records and evidence to support the claim. Since there can be severe punishments, it would be wise to hire a NYC criminal lawyer for defense. They could help develop a number of different defense strategies.
One of the most common ways to defend against money laundering in the fourth degree is if you were unaware that the money came from illegal activity. For example, if you run a business that was laundering money, you could technically be in trouble. However, the attorney may try to prove that you did not know that the money came from illegal sources, or that you were committing the crime. In some situations, this negligence of the crime could result in the charges being dropped or receiving a lesser charge.
Penalties for the Crime
Since money laundering in the fourth degree is a serious crime, there can be significant penalties that come with a conviction. This crime is a Class E felony, which allows a judge to sentence you up to 4 years in prison. Depending on the scope of the crime, and amount of times that it took place, you could also face severe financial penalties. In many cases, the charge of money laundering in the fourth degree is charged alongside another criminal activity, such as sale of drugs, which could come with even more significant penalties.
In conclusion, money laundering in the fourth degree is a crime in the New York Penal Code that comes with severe punishments. If you have been charged with money laundering in the fourth degree, it would be a good idea to hire a NYC criminal attorney to help defend you. The attorney will first work with the prosecutor and judge to try and have the charges dropped or reduced. If they are not able to do that, they may work to defend you in trial and ultimately prove that you were unaware that a crime was being committed.
New York Penal Law 470.10: Money laundering in the third degree
Pursuant to the New York Penal Code, money laundering is a crime that involves hiding the financial proceeds from other criminal activity. Money laundering involves taking specific steps that convert funds received from an illegal activity into what appears to be a legitimate source of that money. Money laundering oftentimes is associated with illegal drug dealing.
Elements of Money Laundering in the Third Degree
There are a number of elements associated with money laundering in the third degree. You can be charged with money laundering in the third degree if you know that the proceeds of a financial transaction represent money obtained through some sort of criminal activity. In addition, you undertake a financial transaction with the intent to hide or obscure the source of the funds or you intend to evade federal tax law. In addition, you can be guilty of money laundering if you know the illegal source of the funds and you make a financial transaction in a manner designed to avoid reporting requirements.
You can also face a charge of money laundering in the third degree if money from criminal activity is placed on some sort of financial instrument, like a prepaid debit card, and you transport the financial instrument to hide the source of the funds. You can also be charged if the use of the instrument is to avoid financial reporting requirements.
Examples of Money Laundering in the Third Degree
An example of money laundering in the third degree is found in a situation in which a person runs a clothing store and operates an illegal gambling operations in the basement. In order to obscure the source of the illegal gambling revenue, the store owner runs the proceeds from the illicit operation through the store as if the money came from retail sales.
Another example of money laundering involves a drug dealer who sets up a barber shop. The drug dealer runs proceeds from the drug sales through the barber shop, concealing the money as customer receipts.
Sentence for Money Laundering in the Third Degree
In the state of New York, money laundering in the third degree is a class D felony. As a result, a person convicted of money laundering in the third degree faces the possibility of up to seven years in prison. A five year probationary period can also follow the term of incarceration in a money laundering in the third degree case. The New York penal code also provides a fine provision. The financial penalty imposed upon conviction for money laundering in the third degree can be twice the amount of money laundered by the person found guilty of the crime.
Defenses to Money Laundering in the Third Degree
A skilled, experienced NYC criminal attorney can mount a defense to a charge of money laundering in the third degree. This crime requires the specific intent that you knew you were laundering money obtained from some type of criminal activity. Therefore, a defense to money laundering in the third degree is that you had no knowledge of the illegal source of the funds.
The first step in obtaining experienced legal representation in a money laundering in the third degree case is to schedule what is known as an initial consultation. An initial consultation provides you the opportunity to obtain a case evaluation from a criminal defense lawyer with a background in defending people facing money laundering charges.
A criminal defense lawyer will also provide answers to your questions. In New York, a criminal defense lawyer typically charges no fee for an initial consultation with a prospective client in a money laundering in the third degree case.
New York Penal Law 470.15: Money laundering in the second degree
One who is being charged with money laundering in the second degree should know the specifics of these charges, and should contact legal representation right away. Hiding money from illegal operations and trying to falsify the profit as legitimate earnings through other sources, or conspiring or aiding in this behavior, could head to money laundering charges in the second degree. For the consultation with an attorney, the accused should have all their financial information, such as bank statements, business reports, tax returns and more.
The degree of money laundering is determined by the amount of money laundered, and how it was laundered. Guilt of money laundering would include knowing a financial transaction taking place is against federal tax law, is occurring to hide criminal activity, or to hide an amount over $50,000 dollars. One who transports the money and promotes carrying on the criminal activity, hides the location and the nature of the criminal activities producing the money, and avoids reporting money or transactions over $100,000 dollars is also guilty. Any item used in the act of money laundering, such as a new NYC car lease, can be stripped.
The lawyer will have to see how much money was moved, when it was moved, and what the alleged launderer’s involvement was. Phone records, electronic message trails, and even social media accounts can all be used in the case, and nothing should be hidden from a lawyer. The lawyer will know before the court date if they have a chance to fight the case, or if they may have to work a plea deal to reduce the charges and punishments during sentencing.
For a judge to convict someone of money laundering, they must have proof that the person was fully aware of the money laundering, and that they were involved in the transactions. If the alleged launderer can prove that they were misled, lied to, and that they had no knowledge of the transactions or illegal activity, they will have to prove this to prove their innocence. If they are unable to get out of the charges, they could be facing a number of ramifications.
Second degree money laundering is a class C felony. One could get the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, along with an additional 5 years of probation. The charged person could also have to pay twice the amount of the money that was laundered in fines and fees back to the state or federal government. Along with the legal punishments, one will have this charge on their personal record, which could prevent them from getting hired, volunteering and more. Probation can be a long process with a lot of restrictions, and those who violate the terms of their probation can end up with additional legal problems.
Anyone who has been contacted by the authorities, brought in for question, or has been told that they are under investigation as a suspect for money laundering in the second degree needs to seek a consult with a New York City criminal lawyer. This type of criminal charge could end up ruining one’s business, finances, and the long term factors in their life, and putting together a case as soon as possible is best. One is innocent until they have been proven guilty in the court of law, and your lawyer may look at the situation and decide that it’s best to work out a plea deal with the judge and settle the case.
New York Penal Law 470.24: Money laundering in support of terrorism
In its broadest sense, the State of New York has defined money laundering to be the deliberate use of deceit in order to conceal the source, ownership, or final destination of money or financial instruments when the origin or ultimate destination of an asset was in support of an ongoing criminal enterprise.
After September 2001, New York amended its existing money laundering laws to include a new crime now known as “Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism” and has made it even easier to charge an individual under these new laws than was the case under the original money laundering statutes. As an example, if an individual knowingly engages in money laundering without knowledge that the financial assets involved were to be used for carrying out an act of terrorism, that individual is considered to have taken part in the act of terrorism.
In order for you to be convicted on a charge of money laundering in support of terrorism in the first degree, the State Prosecutor must prove that:
You were a willing participant in a scheme that utilized money laundering to support and act of terrorism or to support an organization that advocated terrorism.
You knew, or should have suspected, that a financial transaction in which you were an active participant was carried out in order to support an act of terrorism by either attempting to hide the source of the funds used in that financial transaction or to conceal the ultimate destination of those funds.
You knew, or should have suspected, that a financial transaction in which you were an active participant was constructed in a manner that was intended to conceal those funds from the scrutiny of federal and/or state taxation agencies or from a federal or state law enforcement agency and the amount of cash and/or the value of property involved in the transaction was greater than $125,000.
If convicted on a charge of money laundering in support of terrorism in the first degree, you will face a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years, an additional 5 years of probation after sentence completion, and a fine of twice the value of the funds and/or property involved in the money laundering transaction.
In addition to prosecution in a New York State Court, you will probably also be indicted by a federal grand jury and thus be exposed to the risk of being tried in a federal court for essentially the same offense: money laundering and, most likely, a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act as well.
Defenses to a charge of money laundering in support of terrorism
As in those charges of money laundering not alleged to be in support of terrorism, the burden of proof rests with the prosecution. This means that you do not have to prove your innocence but, rather, the state must prove your guilt. In general, the most successful defenses to money laundering charges are those that:
Refute the prosecution’s claim that you were a willing participant in the money laundering scheme.
Show that you had no reason to suspect that you were engaged in an illegal act.
Attack the prosecution’s claim that the organization you are accused of supporting was, in fact, a terrorist organization.
Due to the certainty of severe penalties if you are convicted on a charge of money laundering in support of terrorism, it cannot be stressed strongly enough that you must secure the best NYC criminal lawyer to advise and represent you in all aspects of your trial.
New York Penal Law 470.23: Money laundering in support of terrorism in the second degree
Both the federal and state governments work toward preventing acts of terrorism. In New York or any other state, if you are suspected of assisting or supporting a terrorist organization in any manner, you will be arrested and aggressively prosecuted. There are a number of crimes associated with terrorism. Among those are money laundering offenses. Money laundering is a way for people involved in some sort of criminal activity to make it appear that they obtained money through legal activities, although in reality, the money is obtained illegally. There are four offenses in the New York criminal code related to money laundering. They include money laundering in support of terrorism in the first, second, third and fourth degrees. New York penal law 470.23 pertains to the crime in the second degree.
What Factors Contribute to Prosecution of Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Second Degree?
There are a few specific criteria that determine whether you can be prosecuted for the crime of money laundering in support of terrorism in the second degree. They include:
• Knowing that property involved in one or more financial transactions is for the purpose of committing an act of terrorism or money that was given or received for the purpose of supporting terrorism. Also, conducting one or more financial transactions while intending to promote the proceeds of such a criminal conduct being committed or avoiding tax laws, concealing the nature, source, location and ownership or controlling the proceeds of a terroristic act to avoid any transaction reporting requirement as by the law and the total value of the property involved in said financial transaction exceeds $25,000
• Knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction or transactions is involved with an act of terrorism or money is given, received or intended for the use of supporting terrorism and you transmit, transport or transfer money from New York for the purpose of carrying out a criminal act; or knowing that the transport, transfer or transmission is done so in a way so that the nature, location, source, control or ownership is concealed to promote an act of terrorism by avoiding any transaction reporting requirement as per law and the total value of the money is greater than $25,000
• Conducting one or more financial transactions that involve property for the purpose of committing an act of terrorism or money is received, given or intended to be used to support an act of terrorism while intending to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source or ownership of property or money given to avoid transaction reporting as required by law and the financial amount exceeds $25,000
Example of Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Second Degree
An example of money laundering in support of terrorism in the second degree is that a man created a program with the supposed purpose of awarding scholarships in the amount of $30,000 to college students. However, the students who received those scholarships are all affiliated with a terrorist group that has the intention of using the money to assist in terrorist training.
Defenses for Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Second Degree
To prove that a person is, in fact, guilty of the crime of money laundering in support of terrorism in the second degree, the prosecutor has to show both a connection between the money and criminal activity involved and must tie the two specifically to terrorism. In addition, the amount of money in question has to match the requirements of the statute. A specific defense your NYC criminal attorney can use to get the charges dropped against you is to prove that one of those areas does not match up.
Penalties and Sentences for Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Second Degree
Money laundering in support of terrorism in the second degree is charged as a class C felony. If you are charged and convicted of this crime, you could face a prison term of up to 15 years as well as five years of probation. The New York Penal Law 470.25 also requires a fine up to two times the amount of money involved in the money laundering.
New York Penal Law 470.22: Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third degree
Hiding proceeds from criminal activities such as gambling or drug dealing requires some ingenuity by criminals in efforts to avoid getting caught. One thing some attempt to do is convert illegally gained money into legitimate sources.
This is also a criminal act known as money laundering. Some cases involve hiding the source of money gained from an act of terrorism. Other cases involve funneling money to support acts of terrorism. In New York, both can lead to serious charges.
How Violation of New York’s penal code 470.22 Occurs
You could be prosecuted for money laundering in support of terrorism in the third degree under New York’s Penal Code 470.22 if you:
1. Have knowledge that property used for one or more financial transactions has come from proceeds in an act of terrorism. Monetary instruments that are received, given or intended for the use of supporting terrorism also constitutes a crime in which your intent is to promote such criminal conduct. Avoiding tax laws and/or concealing the ownership, source, location and nature of the proceeds from an act of terrorism also apply. Avoidance of any transaction reporting requirement under the law when one or more the financial transactions exceed $5,000 apply.
2. Knowledge that property from one or more financial transactions is from an act of terrorism and you transmit, transfer or transport monetary instruments from New York is a crime. Doing so with the intent to promote the continuance of criminal conduct, knowing that the purpose of this activity is in whole or in part done to disguise or conceal any specific details about the ownership or control of proceeds from an act of terrorism. Again, the monetary value for such criminal behavior is over $5,000.
3. Performing one or more financial transactions using property that is from an act of terrorism, or where a monetary instrument is given, intended or received in support of terrorism while promoting the carrying out of criminal conduct is another reason for prosecution. When the monetary instrument is over $5,000 and it is used to avoid legal transaction reporting requirements and there are attempts to conceal or disguise the source, location, nature and ownership, you may face criminal charges.
Example of Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Third Degree
A young lady meets a man who tells her he works as an investment banker. His frequent extravagant gifts appear to support his career choice, she has no reason to not believe him. While the man works as a businessman, he is also involved with terrorist activities. The money he receives from customers is actually payments for the acts of terrorism that he commits.
He also uses the money to buy his new girlfriend expensive gifts. However, unless the girlfriend knew about his activities, she cannot be prosecuted for laundering money in support of terrorism. Committing the crime requires having knowledge or intent.
Defenses in Support of Defending a Charge of Violating Penal Code 470.22
Often, the person or entity that is money laundering does not know the money is from criminal activity associated with terrorism. If so, there can be no conviction of money laundering in support of terrorism in the third degree.
Speak with The Spodek Law Group Today!
Although you might not have knowledge that the money is from an act of terrorism, you may still face the “crime” of being associated with the wrong people at the wrong time. If so, you want a strong defense from a NYC criminal attorney.
Spodek Law Group has the experience you need if you are being investigated for money laundering in support of terrorism in the third degree. Conviction can lead to a prison sentence of up to seven years. Getting representation as early as possible is crucial to building a strong defense.
New York Penal Law 470.21: Money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree
The New York Penal Code classifies money laundering as a serious criminal offense. Money laundering involves taking the financial proceeds of criminal activity to make it appear the money was obtained through lawful means.
Historically, money laundering was associated with a number of different types of criminal enterprises, including drug crimes, gambling, and organized crime activities. In the past few decades, money laundering has also become associated with terrorism.
The New York penal code includes four criminal offenses associated with money laundering and terrorism. Money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree is one such crime.
Elements of Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Fourth Degree
The elements of money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree include knowing that the money at issue is the proceeds of some sort of terrorist activity or represents funds that are designed to be used in support of terrorism. The New York Penal Code sets the dollar threshold low for an act to qualify as a violation of the money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree law. As little as $1,000 can trigger the provisions of the money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree and cause a person to be charged with this crime.
Example of Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Fourth Degree
An example of money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree involves a tech company operated by a woman named Helene. In addition to providing actual services to real clients through her company, Helene would take money from people who desired to support a group that was classified as a domestic terrorist organization.
When Helene received funds in support of this cause, she would launder the money through the accounts of her business. The money ultimately ended up in the hands of the domestic terrorist organization. Because the money laundering was over the minimal dollar threshold, Helene faced money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree charges.
Sentence for Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Fourth Degree
Money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree is the least serious of the crimes involving money laundering and terrorism in the New York Penal Code. Money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree is classified as a class E felony.
A person convicted to money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree faces the prospect of up to four years in prison and five years probation. A person convicted of this crime can also face the prospect of a fine that totals two times the amount of money laundered.
Defense to Money Laundering in Support of Terrorism in the Fourth Degree
There are a number of defenses that can be mounted to a charge of money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree. NYC criminal lawyers can raise the defense that the money at issue was not connected with terrorism. This is an element of the charge that must be proven by the prosecutor.
In addition, a defense to money laundering in support of terrorism in the fourth degree is that the person charged with the crime did not have actual knowledge of the source of the funds, or where the money was destined. The law does require actual knowledge on the part of the person who undertakes the alleged laundering.
A criminal defense lawyer in New York provides an overall case evaluation during an initial consultation. As a general rule, there is no charge for an initial consultation with a criminal defense attorney.
In general, money laundering can be defined as the deliberate use of what would otherwise be legal financial transactions that are employed to conceal the origin, amount, and ownership of money that was obtained through any activity that could be taken as a criminal activity under New Yorks Penal Code.
New Yorks penal code allows a money laundering charge to be “enhanced” if it can be shown that the source of the laundered funds was from drug trafficking or if the laundered funds were to be used for the purpose of terrorism. The definition of money laundering can vary depending on the state and federal laws, but generally, it involves hiding the proceeds of criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and organized crime, to make it appear as if the money was obtained through legal means.
In the State of New York, penalties for first-degree money laundering can include a prison sentence of up to 25 years and a fine equal to twice the amount of money involved in the transactions that led to the conviction. Defenses against a charge of money laundering in the first degree may include arguing that the defendant had no knowledge or reason to suspect that the money in question was derived from a criminal enterprise or that they did not deliberately structure a financial transaction to conceal the identity of one or more parties to that transaction.
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