Money laundering is a serious offence. If you are found guilty of this kind of offence, you will be facing a lengthy term of imprisonment. If you have been charged with money laundering, contact George Sten & Co Criminal Lawyers to ensure that you receive the best legal advice. Our firm has been in operation for over 50 years and only practices criminal law. Our highly experienced criminal defence lawyers possess a thorough knowledge of the law and court processes and will use this to build your case and give you the best chance of a clean slate.
Money laundering can be defined as concealing the origins of money that has been illegally obtained. Essentially, it is the process of making ‘dirty’ money clean and attempting to make money generated by illegal means seem legitimate. There are countless different ways that money can be laundered. Whether it is by hiding the true origin of the money, or concealing whom actually owns the money, or whether it is the fact that the money is proceeds of crime.
Money laundering is prohibited by both New South Wales and Commonwealth legislation. You should bear in mind that money laundering often involves the movement of money from country to country. This means that government agencies from different countries will often work together to investigate any potential money laundering.
Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)
Section 193B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) makes money laundering an offence. Any person who deals with the proceeds of crime knowing that it is proceeds of crime and intends to conceal that it is proceeds of crime is guilty of an offence, which is punishable with up to 20 years imprisonment. If a person only satisfies the first part of this offence, without trying to conceal that they are dealing with proceeds of crime, the offence is punishable by 15 years imprisonment. If a person deals with proceeds of crime and is reckless as to the fact that they are dealing with proceeds of crime, then they may be liable for 10 years imprisonment.
There is a defence to these offences, that is, if the defendant can satisfy the court that they deal with the proceeds of crime in order to assist with the enforcement of State, Territory or Commonwealth Law.
Anti-Money Laundering Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) also known as AML/CTF Act and the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
The AML/CTF Act was specifically drafted to target money laundering and terrorism financing in Australia. This piece of legislation addresses the financial sector, gambling sector and other businesses that provide services under the Act. Deposit taking institutions such as banks come under this latter category. Section 400 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) also criminalises money laundering.
Case in point- Money laundering through gambling and airline crew members
Due to the international sensitive nature of this case, the names of those involved have been kept confidential. This particular case was investigated by AUSTRAC in 2014. The suspect, who we will call Miss Smith, was charged with dealing with property reasonably suspected of being the proceeds of crime and received a 12-month good behaviour bond. Miss Smith was found to have assisted an international money laundering syndicate to launder approximately $2.4 million worth of proceeds of crime.
The investigation first began when three Chinese airline crew members were found to be travelling with over $100,000 in undeclared cash. Once these crew members were identified, the law enforcement authorities were able to link them to several people based in Australia who were already suspected of being involved in money laundering. One of these people was Miss Smith.
Meanwhile, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, also known as AUSTRAC, received a suspicious matter report regarding one of these Australian based suspects gambling activities. The suspect was known to gamble on a regular basis, however her gambling losses increased exponentially in 2014. In past years, Miss Smith had lost amounts ranging from $3000 to $30,000. However, this particular year, Miss Smith lost $3 million. Law enforcement officers began to investigate further and observe Miss Smith on the casino’s CCTV system. At one point, they saw Miss Smith holding a bag. They approached her, searched the bag and found $200,000 cash inside.
Upon further investigation, it was found that Miss Smith had given the 3 Chinese flight crew members large sums of cash to transport from Australia to China.
The enforcement officials also found that Miss Smith was a known associate of a person who was employed at a remittance service provider. Miss Smith provided this associate with commissions for transferring large sums of money to China on her behalf. Fake names and identification details were used for these transactions. It was also found that Miss Smith had deposited a total of $2 million into her accounts over 3 transactions in a short period of time.
Miss Smith was charged under section 400 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). Offences that come under this section hold a maximum penalty of 25 years imprisonment or 1500 penalty units, or both. Thanks to her criminal defence team, Miss Smith only received a 12-month good behaviour bond for her offence.
Why you need to contact George Sten and Co Criminal Lawyers
Money laundering offences carry heavy penalties. If you have been accused of or charged with a money laundering offence, you must contact George Sten and Associates as soon as possible. Our solicitors are the best in their field and are equipped with the knowledge of criminal law that will give you the best chance of winning your case. To arrange a confidential chat with one of our specialised criminal lawyers, call George Sten and Co Criminal Lawyers on (02) 9261 8640.