Money laundering is a series of financial transactions designed to conceal that money was made from illegitimate or criminal activity, such as drug dealing, aggravated identity theft or credit card fraud. Through multiple banking transactions, the source of the money appears to be legitimate and is then returned to the owner as “clean money.”

Money laundering is a serious crime under both New York State Law and Federal law. On the state level, New York Money Laundering charges are codified in Article 470 of the New York Penal Law. There are four different New York Money Laundering Charges. Specifically, these charges are:

All of New York Money Laundering charges are felonies, thus a conviction for a money laundering charge can subject you to a permanent criminal record and significant jail time. The difference in these charges is explained below.

Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree

Under New York Penal Law Section 470.05, a person is guilty of New York Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree, when the following elements are proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Knowledge that property involved is proceeds of a criminal transaction;
  2. Conducting a financial transaction which involves the proceeds of criminal conduct;
  3. With intent to carry on with the criminal conduct or commit a felony;
  4. Knowledge that the financial transactions are designed to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of the proceeds of criminal conduct or to avoid transaction reporting requirements;
  5. Total value of the transaction exceeds $5,000.

Transportation of Money Instruments as Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree

Additionally, transportation of money instruments can constitute New York Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree. The following elements are required for a conviction for New York Money Laundering under this section:

  1. Knowledge that one or more monetary instruments represents the proceeds of criminal conduct;
  2. Transportation, transmission, or transfer on one or more occasions;
  3. Monetary instruments which in fact represent the proceeds of specified criminal conduct;
  4. With intent to promote the carrying on of criminal conduct; OR
  5. Knowing that such transportation, transmittal, or transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature of the funds, or to avoid any transaction reporting requirements by law; AND
  6. The total value of such monetary instrument or instruments exceeds $10,000.

Sentencing and Penalties for Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree

New York Money Laundering in the Fourth Degree is a Class “E” Non-violent felony, as such this charge is punishable by:

  • An indeterminate sentence of 1 1/3 to 4 years in jail;
  • A determinate sentence of up to 1 year in prison;
  • A split sentence (up to 6 months jail time, rest of the sentence on probation);
  • A conditional discharge;
  • An unconditional discharge.

Money Laundering in the Third Degree

Under New York Penal Law Section 470.10, a conviction for Money Laundering in the Third Degree requires proof of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Knowledge that property involved is proceeds of the criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  2. Conducting a financial transaction(s) which involves the proceeds of the sale of a controlled substance;
  3. With intent to carry on with the criminal conduct or commit a felony under Sections 1803, 1804 or 1806 of New York Tax Law;
  4. Knowledge that the financial transactions are designed to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of the proceeds of criminal conduct or to avoid transaction reporting requirements;
  5. Total value of the transaction exceeds $50,000.

Transportation of Money Instruments as Money Laundering in the Third Degree

Similarly to New York Money Laundering Charge in the Fourth Degree, there is a provision for transportation of money instruments under New York Money Laundering in the Third Degree. The elements of this charge are:

  1. Knowledge that one or more monetary instruments represents the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  2. Transportation, transmission, or transfer on one or more occasions,
  3. Monetary instruments which in fact represent the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  4. With intent to promote the carrying on of criminal conduct; OR
  5. Knowing that such transportation, transmittal, or transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature of the funds, or to avoid any transaction reporting requirements by law; AND
  6. The total value of such monetary instrument or instruments exceeds $50,000.

Sentencing and Penalties for Money Laundering in the Third Degree

New York Money Laundering in the Third Degree is a Class “D” Non-violent felony. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • An indeterminate sentence up to 2 1/3 to 7 years in jail;
  • A determinate sentence of 1 year;
  • Probation (if there are mitigating circumstances).

Money Laundering in the Second Degree

Under New York Penal Law Section 470.15, a person is guilty of New York Money Laundering in the Second Degree, when the following elements are proven beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Knowing that the property involved in one or more financial transactions represents the proceeds of the criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  2. Conducting one or more such financial transactions which involves the proceeds of the criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  3. With intent to carry on with the criminal conduct or commit a felony under Sections 1803 through 1806 of New York Tax Law;
  4. Knowledge that the financial transactions are designed to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of the proceeds of criminal conduct or to avoid transaction reporting requirements;
  5. Total value of the transaction exceeds $100,000.

Transportation of Money Instruments as Money Laundering in the Second Degree

  1. Knowledge that one or more monetary instruments represents the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  2. Transportation, transmission, or transfer on one or more occasions,
  3. Monetary instruments which in fact represent the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  4. With intent to promote the carrying on of criminal conduct; OR
  5. Knowing that such transportation, transmittal, or transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature of the funds, or to avoid any transaction reporting requirements by law; AND
  6. The total value of such monetary instrument or instruments exceeds $100,000.

Sentencing and Penalties for Money Laundering in the Second Degree

Money Laundering in the Second Degree is a Class “C” Non-violent felony. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • Indeterminate sentence up to 3 to 15 years incarceration;
  • Minimum 1-2 years incarceration.

Money Laundering in the First Degree

The most serious of New York Money Laundering charges is Money Laundering in the First Degree. This charge is codified in New York Penal Law Section 470.20. Under New York Penal Law Section 470.20, a conviction for Money Laundering in the First Degree requires proof of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Knowledge that one or more monetary instruments represents the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance or a Class “A,” “B,” or “C” felony under New York State Law or any other state law;
  2. Transportation, transmission, or transfer on one or more occasions;
  3. Monetary instruments which in fact represent the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  4. With intent to promote the carrying on of criminal conduct; OR
  5. Knowing that such transportation, transmittal, or transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature of the funds, or to avoid any transaction reporting requirements by law; AND
  6. The total value of such monetary instrument or instruments exceeds $500,000 for proceeds of sales of controlled substances or $1,000,000 for proceeds of Class “A,” “B,” or “C” felonies.

Transportation of Money Instruments as Money Laundering in the First Degree

  1. Knowledge that one or more monetary instruments represents the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance or Class “A,” “B,” or “C” felonies;
  2. Transportation, transmission, or transfer on one or more occasions;
  3. Monetary instruments which in fact represent the proceeds of a criminal sale of a controlled substance;
  4. With intent to promote the carrying on of criminal conduct; OR
  5. Knowing that such transportation, transmittal, or transfer is designed in whole or in part to conceal the nature of the funds, or to avoid any transaction reporting requirements by law; AND
  6. The total value of such monetary instrument or instruments exceeds $500,000 for proceeds of sales of controlled substances or $1,000,000 for proceeds of Class “A,” “B,” or “C” felonies.

Sentencing and Penalties for Money Laundering in the First Degree

Money Laundering in the First Degree is a Class “B” Non-violent felony. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • Minimum 1 – 3 years in prison;
  • Maximum 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison.

When is Money Laundering Prosecuted Under New York State Law and When Does the Federal Government Have Jurisdiction?

As discussed above, Money Laundering can be prosecuted under New York State Law as well as under federal law. Federal Money Laundering requires either that the crime involved more than one state, or international transfers. If Money Laundering was confined just to New York State, then the state prosecutors would have jurisdiction over the matter.

New York Money Laundering Jurisdiction Explained

Let’s say proceeds of criminal activity originated in Brooklyn, New York. Money Laundering was done through a series of transactions in Queens, New York. At no point did any of the conduct take place outside New York State. In this situation, New York Money Laundering will be prosecuted by New York State prosecutors.

However, let’s say proceeds of criminal activity originated in Brooklyn, New York. However, some of the money laundering transactions were done through a bank located in Trenton, New Jersey. Then, the federal prosecutors would have jurisdiction over the matter.

Practically speaking, however, if the federal authorities would like to take over a New York Money Laundering matter, that is frequently possible. That is because the banks have multiple locations in different states. Therefore, an inter-state nexus is easy to establish.

Contact Top Rated New York Money Laundering Attorneys

If you have been arrested and charged with New York Money Laundering, you need top rated criminal defense attorneys by your side. Money laundering investigations take months, if not years. Therefore, it is essential for you to find an attorney that will dedicate all the time necessary to your case. Contact us today for your initial consultation.