Money Laundering encompasses a wide range of financial activity, ranging from the conversion of a stolen cheque to enable cash to be withdrawn, to multi-national corporations transferring money into offshore accounts. As we become increasingly a cash-less society through the advent of contactless payments, the product of unlawful activities such as the supply of drugs is becoming harder and harder to disguise for the operators of organised crime groups.
Most people know that paying any sum of £10,000 or more into an account means that the bank will report the account-holder to the authorities for suspicious activity. At present no details are of course taken by banks in relation to the identity of the person paying in the funds.
The law relating to money laundering is mainly regulated by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. An example of the draconian nature of the legislation is that a person who is charged with acquiring criminal property (Section 329(1)(a) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002) does not even need to know that he has acquired the proceeds of criminal conduct to commit the offence. Mere suspicion that he has done so will suffice for the offence to be complete if he does in fact acquire the proceeds of such conduct. The maximum sentence for offences under these provisions is 14 years.
It should also be borne in mind that the authorities look to confiscate any money seized that is deemed to be the proceeds of crime. This is often made under a civil application at the Magistrates Court even before any criminal proceedings have concluded.
For a no-obligation discussion about your case please contact Ben Richardson, Director and Head of our Criminal Law department on 0800 1444 111, or email him at BenRichardson@cmsolicitors.co.uk. Alternatively, please complete our online form and one of our criminal defence lawyers will be in touch with you within 24 hours.