Money laundering is a type of white collar crime that carries serious consequences. The act of channeling illegal funds through legitimate business is termed “Money Laundering.” California has made it a crime to complete this type of financial transaction, and the penalties may include years of imprisonment and a fine. Riverside white collar crimes attorney Gregory H. Comings helps clients facing criminal charges or investigation for money laundering, as well as other criminal charges such as domestic violence, and drug offenses. Mr. Comings handles complex legal issues effectively, working to minimize the adverse consequences of a conviction for clients.Understand the Crime of Money Laundering According to California Law
Current California and federal laws make it a crime to complete a transaction of a certain amount of money, over a specific period of time, with the intent to promote criminal activity or if the defendant knew the funds were illegal. California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC sets forth the following elements for money laundering: the defendant made a transaction through a financial institution of more than $5,000 in a seven day period, or more than $25,000 in a 30 day period, and the transaction was intended to further criminal activity, or the defendant knew the funds were involved from proceeds of a crime.
Financial institution refers to any national bank, or a banking institution doing business or located in California. The types of activities that qualify as a “transaction” may include withdrawals, deposits, exchange of funds, or transfer. Courts have held that an attempt to conduct business may qualify as money laundering, even if the transaction was not successful.
It is essential for the prosecution to establish that the defendant had intent to participate in money laundering. This includes the intent to promote, pay for, or carry out criminal activities. If there is evidence that the defendant acted with knowledge regarding the criminal source of the money, this may also establish the crime of money laundering.Penalties for Money Laundering
The facts and the defendant's criminal history will determine whether money laundering is charged as a misdemeanor or felony. Specifically, determining factors include the value of the transactions, and the number of separate offenses. Misdemeanor charges for money laundering can lead to a year imprisonment and court fines. This is generally the sentence for one offense of money laundering. California has set increased terms of imprisonment that correspond to the value of the transaction. Prior convictions can lead to a more serious fine, up to $500,000 or five times the value of the financial transaction, whichever is more.
When the crime of money laundering is connected with a drug crime, the defendant may face charges under California Health and Safety Code. In some situations, federal law applies as the crime involves interstate commerce.Defenses to Money Laundering Criminal Charges
An individual that lacks the intent to launder money, or was unaware the funds they transferred were from a criminal source, may have a defense to money laundering charges. Legally, the mistake of fact defense could apply when banks provided banking services and were not part of a money laundering scheme. There are other defenses that may be appropriate, including affirmative defenses such as the right to avoid self-incrimination, and the right to freedom from illegal search and seizure. A skilled attorney is capable of assessing the strength and applicability of these kinds of defenses.Retain a Dedicated Lawyer in Riverside to Help Fight Your Charges
If you or someone close to you has been charged with money laundering, an attorney can help. At The Law Offices of Gregory H. Comings, we take the time to explain your legal rights in a clear manner. Mr. Comings is highly regarded throughout the court system for his professionalism and knowledge. To learn more about how our office can assist you, contact us by phone or online. We are proud to help clients throughout Riverside, Palm Desert, Moreno Valley, Indio, Palm Springs, Fontana, Redlands, Highland, Ontario, San Bernardino, and Victorville. We can be reached for a free consultation at (951) 686-3457 or by our online form.