A person commits a crime of money laundering when they get money through criminal activity and then disguise their proceeds to make them unidentifiable. Money laundering has severe consequences in New Jersey. However, the court can only convict someone of this crime if they knew that the money or property came from illegal sources.
An individual is guilty of money laundering when they possess, transport or make transactions with proceeds from criminal activity and then try to conceal their nature and source. The punishments for this crime are severe, and they depend on the amount of money that a person launders:
- Less than $75,000: third-degree offense with a sentence of 3-5 years of imprisonment and a $15,000 fine
- Between $75,000 and $499,000: second-degree offense with a sentence of 5-10 years of imprisonment and a $150,000 fine.
- $500,000 or more: first-degree offense with a sentence of 10-20 years of imprisonment and a $200,000 fine.
If a person breaks down their proceeds to hide it from the authorities, the court will use the sum of all the transactions to dictate the sentence.
Common variants of money laundering
Money laundering is a broad term because different actions can fall into that category. However, some money laundering practices are more common than others. Within the state’s boundaries, a person can commit this crime by:
Structuring cash transactions
The U.S. Department of Treasury prevents money laundering by ordering financial institutions to report transactions beyond $10,000. However, criminal organizations know about this. That is why money launderers divide their profits into small amounts and deposit them in different banks. They can also threaten the institution to prevent getting caught.
Purchasing assets for re-sale
Another common money laundering method is to buy property and assets with unlawful proceeds. Usually, they sell these goods to get “clean” money in return. However, criminals may also keep those assets for themselves.
Converting their money through casinos
Casinos are one of the most significant economic activities of New Jersey. However, one of the disadvantages of the gambling sector is that it makes it easy for people to launder money in their establishments. In casinos, criminals can convert their proceeds by exchanging cash for chips in large sums without drawing much attention.
The person needs to know that their proceeds came from an illegal source for the court to convict them of this crime. If they did not know about this, they wouldn’t be guilty of money laundering.
The law in New Jersey states that a person presumably knows that their property is illegal when there is no documentation of its origin or if they got it in an unusual way. However, an innocent person may be charged with money laundering when they had no way to know that the property in question came from illegal proceeds. If this is your case, you have the right to seek legal representation and prove your innocence to the court.