Most people have heard the phrase “money laundering,” but few know precisely the kind of crime it is meant to describe. Money laundering is a charge that, in fact, covers many types of activities aimed at concealing the illegal source of money in someone’s possession. Oftentimes, the offense of money laundering is coupled with organized criminal activity like theft by deception, insurance fraud, distribution of drugs/cds, identity theft and insurance fraud. If you are under investigation for or have been charged with money laundering, any information you may give in a statement or any evidence seized prior to securing proper representation certainly can be harmful to the defense of your case. That is why you need to obtain an attorney who is knowledgeable in this area of law and highly familiar with the Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton where your case will be heard. A thoroughly qualified lawyer like those at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, will ensure that your interests are protected and that any issues that arise in your money laundering case are handled properly. Our team of criminal defense attorneys includes several former prosecutors that have defended countless cases arising in Robbinsville, Hamilton, Trenton, Ewing, Lawrence and other Mercer County municipalities. Call our Princeton Office at (609) 683-8102 to speak to one of the lawyers in a free consultation immediately.Money Laundering Offense in Mercer County
New Jersey has adopted N.J.S.A. 2C:21-25 to target those who attempt to transform proceeds from criminal activity into revenue or assets from legitimate enterprise. This is commonly referred to as laundering money and 2C:21-25 is intended to discourage this conduct by imposing stiff penalties at the time of sentencing in Trenton against those who violate this law. The headings that follow discuss the important details of the money laundering statute.
Money Laundering Defined. Money laundering is, simply put, any activity that has the purpose of concealing, or “laundering,” the unlawful source of money. The “Money Laundering Act” under New Jersey law is found at N.J.S.A. 2C:21-23 through N.J.S.A. 2C:21-29. There are three basic types of activity that constitute the crime of money laundering:
- transports or possesses property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity; or
- engages in a transaction involving property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity
- with the intent to facilitate or promote the criminal activity; or
- knowing that the transaction is designed in whole or in part:
- to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the property derived from criminal activity; or
- to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under the laws of this State or any other state or of the United States; or
- directs, organizes, finances, plans, manages, supervises, or controls the transportation of or transactions in property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity.
Examples of Money Laundering. As noted, money laundering can include a host of activities to conceal the illegal source of money, such as (i) Currency smuggling, in which a person transports large sums of money from illegal activity; (ii) Structuring Cash Transactions, in which a person deposits cash into a bank in small amounts over time to avoid bank reporting requirements; (iii) Asset Purchases, in which a person uses the money from illegal activity to buy a home, vehicle, or other luxury item; or (iv) Casino Conversion, in which large sums of money can be exchanged at a casino, thereby removing the illegal taint because the exchanged money can be characterized as proceeds from promoting gambling. Indeed, if a person is found with a large sum of cash on his person, or in his vehicle, and it is not reasonable for a person to be carrying such a large amount of cash, the result could be a money laundering charge.
The Penalties for Money Laundering. The severity of penalty depends on the amount of money involved. Laundering money (or anything of value) worth $500,000 or more is a first-degree crime, carrying a sentence of 10 to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $200,000; between $75,000 and $499,000 is a second-degree crime, carrying a sentence of 5 to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $150,000; and less than $75,000 is a third-degree crime, carrying a sentence of 3 to 5 years imprisonment with a potential fine of $15,000. In addition, obstructing a bank from making a report required by law is a third-degree crime. The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office and Office of the Attorney General may also institute proceedings to recover an Anti-Money Laundering Profiteering Penalty “in an amount equal to three times the value of all property involved in the criminal activity, together with costs incurred for resources and personnel used in the investigation and litigation of both criminal and civil proceedings.”Hamilton NJ Money Laundering Lawyer
A prosecution for money laundering in Hamilton or another municipality at the Trenton Superior Court can turn on whether the person accused knew, or should have known, that the money or property of value was derived from illegal activity. Accordingly, anyone who is a potential target for a money laundering offense must be extremely careful with regard to how he or she interacts with law enforcement. Any statement or admission made without a seasoned criminal lawyer can be potential devastating and results in severe consequences, including years in prison. It is vital to have a skilled attorney involved in your money laundering charge in Lawrence Township, East Windsor, Hightstown, West Windsor, Hopewell Borough or elsewhere in the county. That attorneys at the Marshall Firm are very experienced with over 100 years in practice combined. Contact the our Hamilton Office to speak to one of our lawyers immediately.