New Jersey Money Laundering Charges Defense Lawyers
Seasoned Defense Lawyers Advocate for Clients Facing Money Laundering Charges in Essex County, Union County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and Somerset County, NJ
Many clients mistakenly believe that facing money laundering charges is less serious than facing criminal charges for the activity underlying the money laundering itself—but money laundering is, in and of itself, a serious felony level crime that can result in significant jail time. In fact, money laundering charges in New Jersey often accompany additional charges related to the alleged underlying criminal activity through which the funds that were “cleaned” had originally been procured. Because any prison sentence based on a money laundering conviction must be served consecutively to any prison sentence based on the underlying offense, you may actually serve significantly more time in prison if convicted on money laundering charges.
When you are faced with the prospect of spending up to 20 years in prison for the most serious of money laundering cases, you can’t risk hiring an inexperienced defense lawyer to fight for your rights. At Zegas Law, we have decades worth of collective experience handling not only money laundering charges, but also effectively defending against the underlying criminal allegations that are used to support allegations of money laundering. We have a proven track record for providing effective and aggressive legal advocacy for clients accused of money laundering, drug crimes, white collar crimes and a wide range of offenses in both state and federal court, so call or contact our office today so that we can go to work for you.
Understanding Elements of the Money Laundering Offense Applicable in North Jersey Cases
To convict on money laundering charges in North Jersey, the prosecution must essentially prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the funds or property in question were obtained via some type of criminal activity and that the proceeds of that criminal activity were used in a way that was intended to conceal the fact that they originated from illegal conduct. Specifically, the New Jersey statute provides that money laundering occurs when:
- The defendant intentionally evaded a federal or state reporting requirement that applied with respect to the property or money involved,
- The defendant organized, directed, supervised, financed, planned, managed or controlled the transportation or property or funds that the defendant either knew, or reasonably should have known, was derived from criminal activities,
- The defendant engaged in some type of transaction with property to launder the money or property where the defendant either knew, or reasonably should have known was acquired through illegal activity, with the intent to (1) promote criminal activity (2) conceal or disguise the nature, location or source of the property, or its ownership or control that was derived from criminal activity, or (3) to avoid some federal or state reporting requirement with respect to the transaction, or
- The defendant transported or possessed property and knew (or reasonably should have known) that the property was acquired illegally.
Although money laundering charges are always serious, the crime can be graded as either a first, second or third-degree offense primarily based upon the value of the money or property that was “cleaned” in the scheme. Regardless of how the crime is graded, you will always face significant jail time and monetary fines if convicted for money laundering.
Aggressive Criminal Defense Team at Zegas Law Dedicated to Getting Results for Clients Accused of Money Laundering
At Zegas Law, we know the stakes are high when you are facing money laundering charges of any degree in North Jersey. We put all of our substantial resources to work in developing a case strategy that could result in reduced charges or even dismissal or acquittal. Depending upon the available facts, that strategy could involve:
- Arguing that your constitutional rights were violated,
- Challenging the admissibility of evidence and the credibility of witnesses,
- Asserting that you had no way of knowing that the funds or property in question were derived from illegal activity.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation to Discuss Options if You Face Money Laundering Charges
If you have been charged with money laundering or are under investigation in Northern New Jersey, understand that the stakes are high in terms of the time you may spend in prison if convicted. At Zegas law, our accomplished criminal defense lawyers will go to work immediately to formulate an effective defense strategy based on the circumstances of your case. Schedule a confidential consultation today by calling our office or filling out this online contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions About Money Laundering Charges
First time offenders may be able to participate in the pre-trial intervention program in lieu of prosecution, potential conviction and jail, but only if the money laundering charges are graded as a third-degree offense. In some cases, our lawyers may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to have second-degree charges downgraded to third-degree charges depending upon the circumstances.
If your case involved $500,000 or more and is graded as a first-degree offense, your prison sentence could be as long as 20 years if convicted. Conviction for second-degree money laundering can carry between five and ten years in prison and third-degree offenses can result in three to five years in jail. Because judges have significant leeway in determining the appropriate sentence in your case, a skilled defense lawyer can present evidence of mitigating circumstances that could support a sentence at the lowest end of the applicable scale even if you have been convicted of money laundering.
Again, the amount of the fine will depend upon how the crime is graded. For first-degree money laundering conviction, the fine can equal $150,000 or up to three times the value of the money or property that was laundered, while third-degree offenses can carry up to $15,000 in fines or up to three times the value of the money or property that was laundered.