The offence of ‘money laundering’ is prosecuted under Part 4AC of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). In Australia money laundering activity is monitored by the organisation AUSTRAC.
To be found guilty of the offence of money laundering, the prosecution must prove that you have knowingly dealt with the proceeds of a crime and that you deliberately tried to conceal your use of those proceeds. The maximum penalty for money laundering is imprisonment for 20 years.
If you have dealt with the proceeds of crime knowingly but you did not try to conceal it the maximum penalty is reduced to 15 years.
If you are found to be dealing ‘recklessly’ with the proceeds of crime the maximum penalty is 10 years.
What exactly is money laundering?
The simple definition of Money laundering is that it is the act of making money that comes from one source “appear” to come from another. Often the reasons for engaging in money laundering stem from a need to hide the proceeds of illegal activity. However, money laundering can intermingle with legitimate transactions in areas such as banking, finance, casinos and gaming, high value assets like real estate, luxury vehicles and trade and export. Money laundering is difficult to successfully prosecute as it can involve diverse and sophisticated schemes which can be hard to track and prove.
Money laundering is also associated with organised crime. Organised crime figures conceal their illicit profits in order to avoid prosecution, and confiscation of money via the Commonwealth Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Organised crime includes illicit drug trafficking, fraud, and fire arms trading.
Other examples of money laundering are:
The breaking up of large amounts of cash which are then deposited into numerous bank accounts
The purchase of money orders or cheques which are then deposited into numerous bank accounts
The moving of money around or ‘layering’ of money to create complex money trails which make it difficult to identify the money’s original source. This is usually done through a series of transactions that can occur quickly, that involves businesses and extends to other countries.
The integration of illegally gained money with legitimate funds or assets. This may involve buying real estate and luxury assets such as cars or jewellery in cash, or investing in businesses.
The channelling of money through a complex and intertwined web of legitimate businesses and ‘shell’ companies.
The sending of numerous smaller value wire transfers to many overseas-based beneficiaries in a short period of time
The use of other people, who are usually paid a commission, to carry out small transactions or smuggle cash into or out of the country
The use of gambling outlets to put illegal proceeds of crime into gaming machines or to purchase casino chips for the sole purpose of cashing them in.
How is money laundering discovered?
Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime enables the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) to collect financial transaction reports from regulated entities including the financial and gambling sectors. These reports assist in identifying and analysing money laundering activities and methods. AUSTRAC works with State and Federal Police in identifying and prosecuting financial crime in Australia and overseas.
How can North Shore Criminal Law help you with Money Laundering Charges?
If you have been accused of money laundering your first step should be to seek expert legal advice. The penalties for money laundering are high and it will be necessary to have an experienced lawyer prepare your defence. We have over 20 years of criminal law experience in complex crime matters. Call North Shore Criminal Law on (02) 9955 2298 or 0400 44 64 24 (at anytime). Our first telephone consultation is free.