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Money Laundering Criminal Charges in Illinois
Money laundering is a severe criminal offense, not only at the federal level but also at the state level. Illinois, like many states, has its own statutes and regulations that deal with money laundering. This page delves into the details of money laundering criminal charges in Illinois, discussing its definition, the different categories of the crime, penalties, and defenses.
Definition of Money Laundering in Illinois
In Illinois, money laundering refers to a transaction or series of transactions intended to “clean” the proceeds of illegal activities, making them appear as if they were derived from legitimate sources. By doing this, criminals can disguise and enjoy their ill-gotten gains without drawing attention.
The Illinois Money Laundering Act (720 ILCS 5/29B) prohibits the following:
- Conducting a financial transaction with knowledge that the property involved represents the proceeds of illegal activity with the intent to:
- Promote the carrying on of the illegal activity,
- Engage in tax evasion or fraud,
- Conceal the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the property, or
- Avoid a transaction reporting requirement.
- Transporting or transmitting monetary instruments or funds with the intent to promote or further illegal activity.
- Structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. This includes breaking down large amounts of cash into smaller amounts to deposit in banks or making several small transactions that are just below the reporting threshold to avoid detection.
Money Laundering Categories and Penalties
The severity of a money laundering charge and its corresponding penalties in Illinois often depends on the amount of money or value of the property involved.
- Below $10,000: Money laundering of an amount less than $10,000 is classified as a Class 3 felony. Conviction can lead to a prison sentence of 2 to 5 years and fines.
- $10,000 to $100,000: This range is classified as a Class 2 felony. Penalties can include a prison sentence of 3 to 7 years and substantial fines.
- $100,000 to $500,000: Laundering money in this range is considered a Class 1 felony. It carries a potential prison sentence of 4 to 15 years.
- $500,000 to $1 million: At this level, it’s still a Class 1 felony, but with stiffer penalties.
- Above $1 million: Money laundering of over $1 million is a Class X felony in Illinois, one of the most severe felony classes. A conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from 6 to 30 years.
It’s important to note that these penalties can be enhanced if the defendant is found to be involved in an organized criminal activity.
Several defenses can be raised against money laundering charges:
- Lack of Knowledge: If the accused can prove that they didn’t know that the money or property in question was derived from illegal activities, it might be a valid defense.
- Legitimate Source: If the funds or property involved were from a legitimate source and not proceeds of a crime, it can be a defense.
- Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must prove all elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If there’s not enough evidence to meet this standard, the charges may be dismissed.
- Duress or Coercion: If the defendant can prove they were forced or threatened to partake in the laundering activities, it can be used as a defense.
In conclusion, money laundering is taken very seriously in Illinois, and those found guilty can face harsh penalties. However, with a good defense strategy, it is possible to reduce or dismiss these charges. If facing these charges, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney well-versed in Illinois criminal law.
Why Retain an Attorney for Money Laundering Criminal Charges?
Aggressive Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer with 25 Years of Experience
Over the past two decades, David L. Freidberg has gained a dearth of knowledge on the Illinois Compiled Statutes Criminal Code, evidence, rules of criminal procedure, and the U.S. Constitution. David L. Freidberg strives to combine his training, experience, skills, and passion for serving vulnerable communities to provide clients with unparalleled representation. To schedule a free consultation, contact The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg 24/7 at (312) 560-7100 or toll free at (800) 803-1442.
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