Understanding New Jersey money laundering laws

Money laundering does not always involve a complex scheme or a fake business. This crime constitutes any actions that hide the source of illegal income, such as funds derived from trafficking drugs or stolen property. 

If you face New Jersey money laundering charges, learn more about how state and federal law defines and penalizes this type of conviction. 

Common money laundering actions 

New Jersey law defines the following circumstances as money laundering: 

  • Having property that you knew or should have known came from illegal actions 
  • Participating in a transaction to conceal the source or evade reporting of property that you knew came from illegal actions 
  • Filing a false or incomplete financial report, failing to file a legally required report or obstructing the release of this report by a financial institution 

Penalties for money laundering 

Laundering up to $75,000 or blocking the report of financial information is a third-degree offense in New Jersey. You could receive between three and five years in prison. For laundering $75,000 to $499,999, you will receive a second-degree charge carrying five to 10 years in prison. Larger amounts can result in a first-degree conviction with a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison. 

Facing laundering charges 

With this crime, the prosecution must prove that you knew or that a reasonable person should have known the property in question derived from illegal activity. You may have an alibi that establishes your whereabouts during the criminal activities in question, or you may have fallen victim to a false arrest. The prosecution may have a lack of evidence that associates you with the money laundering actions. 

You must gather evidence that supports your defense strategy. For example, bank statements that trace the source of a deposit can prove that the questionable funds came from a legal source, as well as indicate that you did not conceal assets. In this case, defense requires creating reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds.