Though money laundering charges may not be as widely covered in media as other cases, they can still pose serious impacts for defendants. As such, it’s crucial to understand how the law defines these crimes. 

If you’d like to learn more about what a money laundering charge could mean for you or someone you know, please reach out to one of our legal experts at Murphy & Rudolf, LLP. Regardless of its severity, our team is prepared to help you fight for the best outcome possible. 

What Falls Under a Money Laundering Charge? 

Generally, money laundering refers to any transfer of money that was earned via illegal means to make it appear legitimate. It is essentially the process of turning “dirty” money “clean” — which is where the crime received its “laundering” name from. 

Massachusetts will consider imposing a defendant with money laundering charges if they…

  • Knowingly transported/possessed a monetary instrument earned from criminal activity with the intention of continuing the activity. 
  • Directed, financed, managed, or supervised the transaction/transportation of a monetary instrument they knew was earned from criminal activity. 
  • Engaged in a transaction involving a monetary instrument that was earned from criminal activity, either knowing it was organized to make it appear legitimate or with the intent to continue the activity. 

Most often, this is related to drug transactions and other kinds of organized crime, but the situations can vary. 

Money Laundering in Massachusetts 

At this point, states can have different definitions for money laundering charges. In Massachusetts, the law outlines the following: 

  • Financial Institutions: Can be a bank, credit union, betting establishment, car dealer, jewelry retailer, pawnshop, and more. 
  • Transactions: Can be purchases, loans, transfers, withdrawals, deposits, sales, currency exchanges, stock or bonds purchases, or safe deposit box storage.  
  • Criminal Activity: Can be any criminal offense punishable by state prison time according to Massachusetts law, or as a felony in another court. 
  • Monetary Instrument: Can be any U.S. and foreign currency, checks, debit/credit cards, gift cards/certificates, gemstones, stocks, or vouchers exchangeable for cash at casino establishments. 

How to Deal with a Money Laundering Charge 

Money laundering charges could be detrimental to a defendant’s well-being as its penalties include: 

  • State Prison: Up to six years for the first offense, followed by up to eight years for the next. 
  • Fines: Up to $250,000 for the first offense, followed by up to $500,000 for the next. 

As such, it’s crucial for anyone facing a charge to seek out a legal expert with experience fighting these cases. With a qualified team at your side, you can develop a strong defense strategy that may include one of the following tactics: 

  • Claiming prosecutors lack sufficient evidence. 
  • Claiming the defendant had no intent to launder money. 
  • Claiming the defendant was wrongly identified, which may include the use of an alibi. 

Of course, every case is different, so the final defense you use will depend entirely on the severity of the crime, any criminal activity related to the money laundering, and more. To begin developing your strategy, contact Murphy & Rudolf, LLP today to speak with one of our legal experts: 508-762-1397.

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