We hear more and more these days about money laundering. And while the term is used frequently, it is rarely defined. In fact, the phrase covers a wide range of potential crimes.
In a general sense, money laundering, according to the United States Treasury Department, refers to financial transactions in which there is an attempt to disguise the proceeds of the transaction, the source of the funds, and or the underlying illegal activities which generated the funds. This is obviously a broad subject, with any number of variations. To complicate matters further, the states and the federal government each have laws that define the term for purposes of making the practice a crime. And those laws are sometimes not easy to understand.
Money Laundering in Arizona
The statute making money laundering a crime in Arizona is A.R.S. 13-2317. It consists of over 1,200 words, contains close to 20 defined terms, and may be charged in the first degree, second degree or third degree. That’s a lot for most people to digest in trying to understand what the crime consists of. When you cut through all the “legalese,” however, the offense is, in reality, not that difficult to understand.
Money laundering consists generally of having an interest in, using, transferring, receiving, or concealing funds that have been acquired through illegal activity, including racketeering. The offense also includes covering up facts concerning such a transaction, payoffs to conceal the transaction, and related activities. And while Arizona law often refers to “racketeering,” that term is defined to include any indictable offense under state or federal law punishable by imprisonment for more than 1 year. It is not limited to conduct traditionally known as “racketeering,” such as gambling operations, “protection,” and criminal gang activities.
Money laundering is a serious charge. All money laundering offenses in Arizona are felonies: first degree money laundering is a class 2 felony; second degree is a class 3 felony; and third degree is a class 6 felony.
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40 North Central Avenue #1850
Phoenix, AZ 85004