Money laundering is the act of concealing or trying to conceal the origin of money obtained from illegal activities. In St. Louis, MO, this type of white-collar crime carries heavy penalties under the law. If you’ve been accused of money laundering, it is essential to know the legal modalities of your case, including the possible repercussions.
Understanding Missouri money laundering laws
Under Missouri law, you may be found guilty of committing the offense of money laundering if you:
- Conduct or attempt to conduct a monetary transaction with the intent to aid or promote criminal activity
- Conduct or attempt to conduct a monetary transaction with the intent to disguise or conceal in part or in whole the nature, source, location, control, or ownership of the proceeds of criminal activity
- Conduct or attempt to conduct a monetary transaction with the sole intent to avoid financial transaction reporting guidelines under federal law
- Conduct or attempt to conduct a monetary transaction with the intent to facilitate or aid the advancement of criminal activity for the sole purpose of advancing or making a terrorist threat or act
The three stages of money laundering
Before arresting, someone for a serious crime such as money laundering, the state and federal law enforcement agencies conduct a comprehensive investigation. The three stages of money laundering that law enforcement look at when building their case include:
- Placement: This is the act of moving illegally acquired money, whether from child trafficking, drug trafficking, or other criminal acts, into a legitimate source of income.
- Layering: Also known as “smurfing,” this act involves breaking down large sums from illegal sources into smaller transactions
- Integration: The last act involves putting the “clean” money back into their financial accounts or economy by purchasing real estate, for example.
If an accused is found guilty of any of these acts, serious legal charges can result.
Penalties for money laundering in Missouri
The laws and penalties of money laundering are strict, and a defendant can face severe repercussions. The state of Missouri classifies money laundering under class B felony, which is the second highest felony level. If the court finds you guilty of money laundering, you could face five to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the amount you laundered.