Money Laundering

What is Money Laundering? 

Money Laundering in NSWMoney laundering is a term for the process used by criminals to clean the money they receive from doing criminal activities. You’re essentially ‘cleaning’ the money of its connection with criminal activity. Money laundering in NSW is big business.

Money laundering is a type of white-collar crime. For instance, it might involve hiding, disguising, or legitimising where funds come from. Similarly, it is used by organised crime gangs. 

For example, criminals often open shell corporations to launder money. In addition, they sometimes buy and sell commodities or invest in different assets. Furthermore, the rise of digital currency such as cryptocurrency has made it easier for criminals to launder money. On the other hand, the police and government institutions are becoming more efficient at detecting money laundering activities. 

Click here to read our full factsheet on Money Laundering

Money laundering involves, in particular: 

  • The placement of funds from the proceeds of crime into the financial system,
  • Separating those funds from their source to avoid detection, 
  • And then laundering funds back into the financial system to make the funds appear legitimate or ‘clean.’ 

Is Money Laundering in NSW a serious crime? 

Yes, money laundering in NSW is a very serious crime. Moreover, money laundering involves the collection of complex evidence. The investigation might include lengthy financial analysis.

Oftentimes, overseas bodies might be asked to provide evidence in a money laundering case if funds were sent overseas. In all of Australia, money laundering is an offence at both State and Federal levels. 

How is Money Laundering in NSW punished? 

Money laundering is a complex crime. Usually, the amount of money involved dictates the severity of the case and punishment.

If found guilty, someone could serve up to 25 years imprisonment in Australia. However, an individual will serve 20 years for money laundering in NSW. 

Money laundering in NSW

In NSW, the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) section 193B states: 

It is a criminal offence to deal with the proceeds of crime knowing that it is the proceeds of crime, and intending to conceal that it is. 

The Anti-Money Laundering And Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 refers to money laundering in NSW. 

Specifically, it includes the offences used to prosecute someone for money laundering. For example, these have the potential of being offences of money laundering in NSW: 

  • Moving physical currency in and out of Australia;
  • Giving false information, or forging false documents, using a fake name, 
  • Making transactions for the purpose of avoiding reporting requirements.

What does ‘proceeds of crime’ mean? 

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.

Handling the proceeds of crime 

When you deal with the proceeds of crime, you are money laundering. However, someone must know that they are the proceeds of crime. Someone does not necessarily need to clean the funds for it still to be money laundering.  

The maximum penalty for handling the proceeds is less. A typical punishment for this offence is 15 years imprisonment. 

Recklessly handling proceeds of crime 

In addition, dealing with the proceeds of crime, and being reckless as to whether they are from criminal activity, is also illegal.  

Deal with includes to receive, possess, conceal, dispose of, bring or cause to be brought into NSW. In addition, engaging directly or indirectly with a transaction also constitutes dealing with it. 

The maximum penalty for the above offence is 10 years imprisonment. 

Property and money laundering in NSW

Someone dealing with a property purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity is illegal. However, there must be reasonable grounds to suspect the buyer used the proceeds of crime. 

If the property is valued at $100,000 or more, the maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment. However, if the property is worth less than $100,000, the maximum prison term is 3 years

Between 2020-2021, a report suggested that money laundering has cost Australia between $24 billion to $60 billion. 

Defending against money laundering

However, someone can show their innocence of money laundering in NSW by showing: 

  • They didn’t know that the funds came from the proceeds of crime,
  • Someone did not receive, possess, hide or dispose of a property,
  • They were acting under duress or 
  • That person was helping law enforcement. 

In conclusion, money laundering is a difficult accusation to defend yourself from. Therefore, we recommend seeking professional help as soon as possible.  

We are experienced Money Laundering Lawyers

Are you facing money laundering charges? Or have you been a victim of money laundering?

Our experienced lawyers have years of experience in this area of law. Get in touch with us today. Call O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281 to set up a free appointment. 

1. Full-service criminal defence firm 

O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors is a full-service criminal defence law firm. This means 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). 

2. Competitive costs 

Your first consultation with one of our criminal lawyers is free. Therefore this is is your opportunity to speak to us about your case. If you choose to proceed, we will provide you with a cost agreement setting out your fees. O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors provides cost-effective and professional legal advice. 

In some instances, we offer reduced fees or pro bono services. However, this is at the discretion of our Principal Lawyer. In conclusion, we can also assist you in applying for Legal Aid. Speak to us if you have concerns regarding your ability to pay your legal fees.

3. Experienced  team of lawyers

Our criminal lawyers have handled cases in Local Courts, District Courts and the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal. With a wealth of experience in assisting clients with bail applications, trials, sentencing hearings, and appeals.  

Criminal Law Accredited Specialist Lawyers                                 

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.

4. Our trauma-informed approach to legal practise 

O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors utilises a trauma-informed lawyering approach. We understand that you have dealt with traumatic events. We know that engaging with authorities and courts is stressful. As a result, we are sensitive to your mental and emotional needs, and will assist you in an appropriate manner. Read more about our trauma-informed lawyering

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  3. DJ – Successful outcome for client charged with dealing / trafficking prohibited drug (cannabis) (10)
  4. Alleged Criminal Syndicate Charged with Dishonesty Offences (9.6)


O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors
p: 02 9261 4281
a: Level 4, 219-223 Castlereagh St,
Sydney NSW 2000

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