In the most general terms, money laundering is a type of financial scheme in which a person takes steps to gain money via a criminal act. While this may seem pretty cut and dry, it’s actually a bit more complex than that. The state of Arizona recognizes three different degrees of money laundering. While all three degrees of money laundering are felony charges, each degree carries its own unique penalties. Read on for the details of each degree of this particular crime and what you can expect when accused in Arizona.
A Closer Look at Money Laundering
Before we explore the three degrees of money laundering in AZ, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what the process of this crime actually looks like. In a typical money laundering case, a launderer will first acquire money via illegal activity. From here, he or she will put the money through some type of scheme in order to cover up the criminal activity, often through what is known as a “front” business. Finally, the money is returned to the launderer as “clean” (hence being “laundered”) so that he or she can spend the money. Money laundering is considered to be one of the most serious types of white collar crimes. If you have been accused of money laundering, it’s important that you talk to an expert at Schill Law Group right away.
Money Laundering in the Third Degree
Let’s begin with the degree of money laundering that carries the least severe punishments. If you have been accused of third-degree money laundering, it means that prosecutors believe that you took part in the process of transmitting money within a laundering scheme. Although it is the lowest degree of money laundering, those convicted may face up to six years in prison for a first offense. Third-degree money laundering is a Class 6 felony in Arizona.
Money Laundering in the Second Degree
Moving one level up from third-degree money laundering is a second-degree launderer, who is accused of having an ongoing interest in, transacting, transferring, transporting, or receiving and concealing the existence of monies acquired through criminal activity or racketeering. This includes the process of providing false information to the government. Second-degree money laundering is a Class 3 felony and carries a penalty of 8.75 years in prison for first-time offenders.
Money Laundering in the First Degree
Finally, there’s the most serious type of money laundering in Arizona. In first-degree laundering, an individual is accused of knowingly initiating, organizing, directing, or managing a scheme designed to launder money. This means that the individual has played the most active role in the money laundering scheme. As a Class 2 felony, first-time offenders will face 12.5 years in prison.
Building a Defense Against Money Laundering Charges
If you have been accused of money laundering, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel immediately. Regardless of the degree of money laundering that you are being investigated for, the charges are very serious and require serious legal defense. It’s in your best interest to avoid answering any questions or disclosing any information about your case to anyone but a reputable criminal defense attorney with the knowledge and experience required to understand the sensitive nature of these charges.
It’s important, too, to understand that the above-mentioned penalties for the three degrees of money laundering pertain only to first-time offenses. Because those with prior charges may face even harsher consequences, it’s absolutely critical that you have a reliable lawyer on your team.