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Illinois Money Laundering Defense Attorney

Illegal gambling, selling contraband, or otherwise profiting through illegal means and then putting that money back into circulation to make it look legal is not a crime of the mob alone, but ordinary people can commit the offense of money laundering, too. This criminal offense can lead to long incarceration sentences and steep fines. A conviction also carries a social stigma that will harm your reputation and could impact your family as well.

It is important to retain an experienced white collar crimes defense attorney in Cook County or DuPage County as soon as possible to guide you through The Illinois criminal process. The sooner your attorney is able to begin investigating and building your defense, the better the result will be for you and your loved ones. 

These types of cases require a lot of documentation and legal fine-tooth-combing. At Dolci & Weiland, our attorneys are committed and determined to get the best results. Contact us today to learn more about our approach to white collar crime criminal defense. 

How Does Illinois Define the Crime of Money Laundering?

Money laundering is defined in 720 ILCS 5/29B-1 as an offense that occurs when a person:

(1) when, knowing that the property involved in a financial transaction represents the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, he or she conducts or attempts to conduct the financial transaction which in fact involves criminally derived property:
    (A) With the intent to promote the carrying on of the unlawful activity from which the criminally derived property was obtained; or
    (B) where he or she knows or reasonably should know that the financial transaction is designed in whole or in part:
        (i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of the criminally derived property; or
        (ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State law; or
(1.5) when he or she transports, transmits, or transfers, or attempts to transport, transmit, or transfer a monetary instrument:
    (A) with the intent to promote the carrying on of the unlawful activity from which the criminally derived property was obtained; or
    (B) knowing, or having reason to know, that the financial transaction is designed in whole or in part:
        (i) to conceal or disguise the nature, the location, the source, the ownership or the control of the criminally derived property; or
        (ii) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State law; or
(2) when, with the intent to:
    (A) promote the carrying on of a specified criminal activity as defined in this Article; or
    (B) conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of property believed to be the proceeds of a specified criminal activity as defined in this Article; or
    (C) avoid a transaction reporting requirement under State law, he or she conducts or attempts to conduct a financial transaction involving property he or she believes to be the proceeds of specified criminal activity or property used to conduct or facilitate specified criminal activity as defined in this Article. 

What Does the Prosecutor Need to Prove to Get a Money Laundering Conviction in Illinois?

There are basically three elements taken from the above statutory definitions of money laundering that must be proven by the prosecutor before a conviction can be returned by a judge or jury. These elements include:

  1. Financial Transaction;
  2. Knowledge of the Criminal Activity; and
  3. Intentional Concealment.

Financial Transaction

The prosecutor must show that the alleged offender attempted to complete or completed a financial transaction. Examples of ways to prove this include:

  • Applying for a loan;
  • Transferring money from one account to another account;
  • Purchasing real estate;
  • Exchanging currencies;
  • Making credit extensions;
  • Purchasing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin;
  • Purchasing stocks, certficates of deposit, or bonds;
  • Getting a safety deposit box; or
  • Any other financial transaction that can be linked to the money.

Knowledge of the Criminal Activity

Money laundering requires proof of the alleged offender's mental state. This proof must show that the offender knew that the money used in the financial transaction was sourced from illegal activity. Examples of common criminal activities associated with money laundering include:

  • Illegal gambling
  • Extortion
  • Bribery
  • Contraband sales
  • Drug trafficking
  • Theft.

Intentional Concealment

The prosecutor must also show that at the time of the financial transaction, the alleged offender made the transaction in an effort to conceal the illegal money. The alleged offender must have knowingly and intentionally designed the financial transaction to hide the money he or she obtained through criminal activity.

What are the Penalties in Illinois for a Conviction of Money Laundering?

Money laundering convictions can mean serious incarceration and fines. The higher the value of the financial transactions, the harsher will be the penalties. Further, your property (e.g., vehicles, boats, homes, jewelry, bank accounts, and other valuable assets) may be seized and/or you could be ordered to pay restitution. This means not only are you affected by a conviction, but family members could also be impacted by it.

Money laundering are felonies, and according to the classification of the felony and the value of the money laundered, you could spend 2-15 years in prison and be fined up to $25,000 

  • Value of up to $10,000 is a Class 3 felony, which can result in prison between two to five years;
  • Value between $10,000 and $100,000 is a Class 2 felony, which can result in prison between three and seven years;
  • Value between $100,000 to $500,000 is a Class 1 felony, which can result in prison between four and 15 years with; and
  • Value more than $500,000 is a Class 1 felony, which can result in prison between four and 15 years with no option for probation.

Are there Defenses to an Allegation of Money Laundering?

Like any crime, there are defenses to money laundering charges in Illinois. Common defenses include:

  • Lack of Evidence. These are hard cases to prosecute, and without sufficient evidence, the crime can't be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. There are many factors and variables that could come into play, complicating matters for the prosecutor, and a strong defense attorney will know how to use these facts to your benefit to get the charges dismissed or reduced.
  • Lack of Intent. You may have made an honest mistake and never intended to use money obtained unlawfully.  As a crime of intent, you must have the requisite mental state to commit the crime or else no crime was committed.
  • Duress. YOu may have been threatened with harm or a family member may have been threatened with the same, and because of the threat, you felt compelled to commit an unlawful act.

Contact Experienced White Collar Crime Attorneys Today in the Greater Chicago Metro Area

You want to avoid a felony conviction at all costs in Illinois. This type of conviction can have a serious, life-changing impact on you and all those around you. It can even affect your right to vote, own a firearm, obtain housing, acquire a loan, among other things after you have completed your sentence. To fight money laundering charges, contact Dolci & Weiland today.

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17W662 Butterfield Rd, #304
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