Defending Against Money Laundering Charges

What are the penalties for money laundering?

Money laundering is a serious crime in the state of Arizona as well as a severe federal offense.  The crime of money laundering involves a financial transaction scheme in which funds made through unlawful activities are then transferred to legitimate businesses or accounts, with their illegitimate nature concealed. A money laundering charge will often also involve related offenses such as drug trafficking or fraud.  Being convicted of money laundering could lead to many years in prison, probation, fines and fees, and a permanent felony record. For these reasons, it is critical that you consult with a Phoenix, Arizona criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you are being investigated or charged with money laundering.


Per Arizona law, money laundering occurs when a person knowingly acquires an interest in, transacts, receives, transports, or conceals money derived from illegal activities with the intent to conceal its illegal source. Some of the most common activities that lead to a charge of money laundering include transferring illegal funds to an offshore account, purchasing legitimate goods or forms of money with the illicit funds, or commingling legitimate funds with unlawfully acquired funds in a bank account.

Money laundering is typically charged as a second-degree felony in the state of Arizona.  A second-degree felony could result in up to 8.75 years in prison, along with probation and fines.  At times, the charge of money laundering can be heightened to a first-degree felony. These serious charges are typically reserved for the leaders of a large money laundering scheme.  A first-degree felony charge could mean up to 12.5 years in prison.

Money laundering can also be charged as a federal offense, which comes with even more severe penalties.  A federal conviction could be punished by up to 20 years in prison and fines of $500,000. Additionally, any funds and property connected to the money laundering scheme can be seized.

Potential Defenses Against Money Laundering Charges

There are many potential defenses you can raise to a charge of money laundering, depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime.  Common defenses include lack of specific intent to conceal the illegal nature of the money, lack of evidence, or evidence the funds were not in fact illegally gained.  Contact a criminal defense lawyer right away if you have been charged with the crime of money laundering.