Arizona Money Laundering Laws

If you make money through an illegal business, such as selling drugs or bootleg videos, you’re breaking the law every time you spend that money. Money laundering is the act of taking illegally obtained money and make it appear as if it was from legitimate origins.

The term “laundering” refers to the action of "cleaning” the illegal nature of the money and making it appear as though the money was earned legitimately. This is why it’s considered money laundering if you pay someone with money you obtained illegally, or even if you attempt to deposit that money into a bank account.

Overview of Arizona Money Laundering Laws

Below you will find key provisions of Arizona’s money laundering laws.

Arizona

Statute

Arizona Revised Statutes, Criminal Code § 13-2317 (Money Laundering)

Possible Penalties

  • 1st Degree Money Laundering
    • Class 2 felony
    • If $100,000 or more was “laundered” during a 12- month period, subject to forfeiture (fine) of 3 times amount involved
    • Up to 12.5 years in prison for first time offender
  • 2nd Degree Money Laundering
    • Class 3 felony
    • If $100,000 or more was “laundered” during a 12- month period, subject to forfeiture (fine) of 3 times amount involved
    • 8.75 years in prison for first time offender
  • 3rd Degree Money Laundering
    • Class 6 felony
    • Up to 6 years in prison
    • Fine of not less than $2000 or 3 times the value of substance, whichever is greater

Defenses

  • Lack of Intent
  • Illegal Search
  • Duress
  • Entrapment

Note: State laws are always subject to change. It’s important to verify the laws you’re researching by conducting your own research or consulting with a qualified Arizona criminal defense attorney.

Elements of Money Laundering Arizona

Money Laundering is a complex and fact specific crime. Arizona law distinguishes between money laundering in the first degree, second degree, or third degree based on the actions of the accused. The charge is frequently part of a “racketeering” charge, which simply refers to dishonest and fraudulent business dealings.

State prosecutors need to prove each element of the government’s case beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. Money laundering in the second-degree can be charged based on a variety of behaviors. The actions listed below are identifies by Arizona law as warranting a charge of second degree money laundering:

  • Acquire or maintain an interest in, transfers, transports, receives or conceals the existence or nature of racketeering proceeds, knowing or having reason to know that they are proceeds of that offense;
  • Makes property available by a transaction to another knowing that it is intended to be used to facilitate racketeering (such as renting out a house to be used as an illegal brothel);
  • Conducts a transaction with the intent to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the property knowing that the property involved are the proceeds of an offense;
  • Intentionally or knowingly makes a false statement or a misrepresentation or omits a material entry in any application or financial statement or account records under Title 6, chapter 12 of the Arizona statutes (basically all financial documents);
  • Intentionally or knowingly attempts to evade any reporting requirement under the Code of Federal Regulations, such as not reporting income on tax returns.

Penalties for Money Laundering

Penalties for money laundering are based on the charge of first degree, second degree, or third degree based. Penalties are:

  • First degree occurs when the defendant is accused of knowingly initiating, organizing, managing, and or directing the scheme. The accused is also guilty of Money Laundering in the First Degree if they conduct a operation in the Second Degree, but it is done for the purpose of facilitating terrorism or murder. This is a class two felony.
  • Second degree occurs when the defendant is accused of maintaining an interest in, making property available, providing false information to the government, or transmitting money. This is a class three felony.
  • Third Degree occurs when the defendant is accused of helping transmit money for the scheme. This is a class six felony.

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Money laundering is a complex crime with stiff penalties for those convicted. Fortunately, being accused of a crime does not mean you will be found guilty. The prosecution has the burden to prove that the money invested were profits from a crime. If you're dealing with a criminal matter, it's in your best interest to receive a free case review from a local attorney to learn more about how the law applies in your case.

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