Money Laundering| Factsheet
Money Laundering| Factsheet
Money Laundering is an act which conceals the fact that money is the proceeds of crime. It’s called money laundering, because you’re ‘cleaning’ the money to make it usable.
Under the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) section 193B, it is an offence to deal with the proceeds of crime knowing that it is proceeds of crime and intending to conceal that it is the proceeds of crime.
The term ‘proceeds of crime’ means any property that is substantially derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of a serious offence.
That offence carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment.
Defences To Money Laundering
If the matter ended up at a defended hearing with a charge under s193B(1), the prosecution would need to prove:
- The defendant ‘dealt’ with proceeds of crime;
- That the defendant knew they were proceeds of crime;
- The defendant intended to conceal that it is proceeds of crime.
If found guilty of the above charge, you could get a sentence to up to 20 years imprisonment.
Another Money Laundering Crime
Another money laundering crime includes dealing with the proceeds of crime knowing they are proceeds of crime but not necessarily concealing that they were proceeds. This is a crime under section 193B(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). This is an easier bar for the prosecution to prove and the maximum penalty is 15 years. On a defended hearing, the prosecution would need to prove that:
- The defendant dealt with proceeds of crime;
- The defendant knew they were proceeds of crime.
Another is dealing with proceeds of crime and being reckless as to whether they are proceeds of crime or not. This is an offence under section 193B(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). Once again, this is a lower threshold, with maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. The prosecution would need to prove that;
- The defendant dealt with proceeds of crime;
- The defendant was reckless as to whether they were proceeds of crime.
“Deal with” includes to receive, possess, conceal, dispose of, bring or cause to be brought into NSW, or engage directly or indirectly in a transaction.
It is a complete defence under this section if the defendant can satisfy the court that they dealt with the proceeds of crime to assist the enforcement of a law of the Commonwealth, State of Territory.
Other proceeds of crime offences
If a person deals with property, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the property is proceeds of crime, and the value of the property is $100,000 or more, the maximum penalty is imprisonment for 5 years. Where the value of the property is less than $100,000, the maximum prison term is 3 years.
What are reasonable grounds?
The legislation includes a non-exhaustive list of potential scenarios where there would be reasonable grounds to suspect that property is proceeds of crime. This includes:
- a dealing involving using one or more accounts held in false names;
- the value of the property involved in the dealing is, in the opinion of the trier of fact, grossly out of proportion to the defendant’s income and expenditure over a reasonable period within which the dealing occurs;
- a dealing involves a number of transactions that are structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 of the Commonwealth that would otherwise apply to the transactions;
- the dealing involves a number of transactions that are structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Commonwealth Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 that would otherwise apply to the transactions; and others.
A ‘serious offence’ is an offence which can brought on indictment. This is typically any crime with a penalty of 2 years imprisonment of more.
Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988
An Australian federal law aimed at regulating the cash economy to prevent tax evasion and money laundering, which enables law enforcement agencies to monitor the movement of large amounts of cash and identify tax evaders and recipients of proceeds of crime.
The Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 is a useful tool against the anti-social practices of organised crime and public corruption, including the exploitation of workers in circumstances constituting an offence against the Act. (R v Guo (2010) 201 A Crim R 403)
Alternative verdicts to a money laundering charge
Under section 193E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), the jury is able to to give alternative verdicts. This can happen if they don’t think the person is guilty of the offence before them.
For example, in a hypothetical case the defendant is facing charges of money laundering (s193B(1)). However, the jury doesn’t think the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they intended to conceal the money. Then, the jury could find them guilty of s193B(2) or (3).
How we Can Help
O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors is a full-service criminal defence law firm meaning that we provide legal advice on both criminal and civil law. After the completion of your criminal case, we can continue to represent you in your civil matter (if one exists). We have represented many clients in their criminal matters and then proceeded to assist them in making a civil claim against the police for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment, or suing a publisher for defamation.
Your first consultation with one of our criminal lawyers is free. This is your opportunity to speak to us about your case and for us to discuss with you what your options are. If you choose to proceed with our services we will provide you with a cost agreement that sets out your legal fees. O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors provides cost-effective and professional legal advice compared with other law firms. In some instances, we offer reduced fees or pro bono services at the discretion of our Principal. We can also assist you in applying for Legal Aid if you are eligible. Speak to us if you have concerns regarding your ability to pay your legal fees and we can discuss the possibility of accommodating your circumstances.
Our criminal lawyers have handled cases in courts across NSW at Local Courts, District Courts and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal. They have a wealth of experience in assisting clients with bail applications, trials, sentencing hearings and appeals to name a few.
Our team includes Accredited Specialists in Criminal Law.
Specialist Accreditation is a structured peer to peer assessment process enabling legal practitioners to be recognised for their expertise. To be accredited specialists must pass a series of meticulous assessments on both legal knowledge and its application in practice. To retain their accreditation specialists must undertake significant additional professional development in their area of expertise each year.
O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors utilises a trauma-informed lawyering approach when interacting with our clients. We understand that you have dealt with traumatic events and that engaging with authorities and courts is a stressful experience that might re-traumatise you. For this reason we are sensitive to your mental and emotional needs and will assist you in an appropriate manner. Read more about our thoughts on trauma-informed lawyering.
O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors has an accredited specialist in Criminal Law. Our team of experienced criminal solicitors in our Sydney offices have successfully represented those facing charges of money laundering.