Here’s a great guest post by Robert Tsigler, an NYC criminal lawyer. Money laundering is the act of taking illegally acquired money and attempting to convert it to “legal” money, or money that can be reported and taxed. Money laundering in the second degree involves an amount over $50,000.00 and requires knowledge that the act of transferring the money is illegal.
Money acquired illegally could come from any number of illegal activities, including but not limited to drug trafficking, prostitution, gambling or theft. The purpose of laundering the money is to make the money appear as legitimate income and in some cases to avoid paying taxes. Another purpose of laundering money is to conceal the criminal activity, whether by concealing the owners of the criminal enterprise or to conceal the location, existence or nature of the criminal enterprise.
The elements of the crime of Money Laundering are:
1. Knowing the money involved in the financial transaction involved:
A. Money from the sale of a controlled substance
i. With intent to carry on specified criminal conduct or with the intent to engage in felony conduct under section 1803, 1804,1805, or 1806 of the tax law.
ii. Knowing that the transaction is designed to conceal the illegal activity’s purpose, source or ownership
iii. The total value of the property involved in the financial transaction exceeds $50,000.00 or
B. As a result of criminal conduct, the offender knowingly uses the proceeds of specified criminal conduct: as part of a financial transaction,
i. With intent to carry on specified criminal conduct or with the intent to engage in felony conduct under section 1803, 1804,1805, or 1806 of the tax law or
ii. Knowing that the transaction is an attempt to hide the source, owners or operators, control the proceeds of the illegal activity or to avoid making legally required transactions and
iii. The total value of the property involved in one or more financial transactions exceeds 100,000.00; or
2. Knowing that one or more monetary instruments represent:
A. The proceeds from the illegal sale of controlled substances
or represented to be property used to conduct or facilitate the criminal sale of a controlled substance: are transported or transmitted through any county
i. To promote the continuance of specified criminal conduct; or conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of property believed to be the proceeds of specified criminal conduct; or (C) avoid any transaction reporting requirement imposed by law; and
ii. Knowing that the transfer or transmittal through any county in this state is an attempt to conceal the origin, location of, ownership of or control of the illegal criminal enterprise and to avoid legally required reporting of said transactions;
With the intent to continue the criminal activity which generated the proceeds;
iiii. The total amount of money or property involved in the transfer exceeds $50,000.00 or
B. The proceeds from specified criminal activity or property used to conduct or facilitate specified criminal conduct are transported, transmitted or transferred through any county in this state
• To promote the continuing criminal activity; conceal or disguise the ownership, location, or control the proceeds from criminal conduct; or, an effort to avoid any transaction reporting required by law
• The total value of the property involved in the listed transactions exceeds $100,00.00.
3. Financial transactions involving property represented to be
A. Money acquired as a result of the criminal sale of a controlled substance, or represented to be property used to conduct or facilitate the criminal sale of a controlled substance:
i. With an intent to continue a specific criminal activity or conceal the criminal activity’s location, control, source or ownership; or avoid transactions required by law.
ii. The transaction exceeds $50,000.00 or
B. Proceeds of specified criminal acts, or shown to be property used to conduct or facilitate specified criminal conduct:
i. With an intent to allow and continue specified criminal conduct; obfuscate the nature, source, location, control or ownership of the illegally obtained property which is proceeds of the criminal conduct; or avoid any legally required transaction reporting and,
ii. The total amount of property involved in such transactions exceeds $100,000.00.
Second-degree money laundering in New York state is a class C felony.
The sentence for Money Laundering in the Second Degree (a class C felony) is up to 15 years in prison and 5 years probation. Additionally, a fine of up to two times the amount of money laundered may be required.