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What are the different degrees of money laundering?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2021 | White Collar Crimes |

Money laundering is a common white-collar crime. If a person gets arrested for this offense in Michigan or another state, it’s important to take the matter seriously because the prosecution could recommend harsh penalties. There are varying degrees of money laundering crimes that carry different penalties depending on the severity of the crime.

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is one of many white-collar crimes involving finances. It is committed when a person illegally gains money through fraudulent transactions and then makes them appear legitimate. Sometimes, actual money doesn’t need to be involved in order for the crime to be committed. For instance, drug trafficking often involves money laundering as the finances acquired through it are done so in an illegal manner.

What are the degrees of money laundering?

Depending on the circumstances of these white-collar offenses and whether the person has a prior conviction, they can be charged with a more serious crime or less serious one. The degrees of money laundering include the following:

  • First degree: This crime is considered a felony and is the most serious. If the amount of money involved in the crime is $10,000 or higher, a person can be charged with first-degree money laundering. Drug offenses involving money laundering are also classified as first degree. Penalties include up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine or a fine that’s double the amount of money illegally gained.
  • Second degree: Second-degree money laundering is considered a felony and carries penalties of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
  • Third degree: Also a felony, third-degree money laundering carries a maximum fine of $50,000 and a prison sentence of up to five years.
  • Fourth degree: Fourth-degree money laundering is classified as a misdemeanor that carries penalties such as a fine of up to $10,000 and up to two years in jail.

Fines can be higher depending on the circumstances. Like first-degree money laundering, each lesser degree of the crime can involve a fine that’s double the amount of money that was illegally obtained.

No matter what the degree of the crime, money laundering is a serious federal offense. It’s important to be prepared for anyone accused to have a strong defense.