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Being charged with an offence as serious as money laundering can be frightening. The government has made extensive efforts to clamp down on money laundering in the UK, and as such the criminal justice system can treat offenders harshly. You might be wondering what will happen at your trial, what punishment you might face, and how you might be able to defend yourself. As you begin to prepare a defence, knowing how other money laundering cases in this category have been treated by courts (what happened, what sentences were received, etc.) can set your mind at ease about the many unknowns that you face.
Money laundering occurs when people transfer money through a series of complex financial transactions to hide it from those who might try to trace or review the transactions, such as business owners, investors, tax authorities, or law enforcement. The ultimate aim of money launderers is to ‘cleanse’ money through these transactions so that its true origin – usually being the proceeds of crime – is hidden and the money launderer can eventually use the money without suspicion. Examples of money laundering include:
In the UK, money laundering is dealt with by the Proceeds of Crimes Act 2002, the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, and a series of complex national and international anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.
|Case Details||Judgment Date||Sentence||Link to Transcript|
|Defendants ‘suspected’ cash was proceeds of crime but were not certain||07/06/2005||Acquitted||Court Transcript|
|Conspiracy to launder proceeds of drug trafficking||17/02/2006||Confiscation of £2.5 million||Court Transcript|
|Estate agent entering into money laundering agreement||19/06/2006||3 years’ imprisonment||Court Transcript|
|Transferring £300,000 to Jamaica in suspected drug trafficking scheme||18/12/2012||2 years’ imprisonment, reduced to 15 months’||Court Transcript|
|Laundering £2.2 million over a period of ten days||13/01/2017||18 months’ imprisonment||Court Transcript|
|Laundering in the context of property lease fraud||19/06/2012||3.5 years’ imprisonment||Court Transcript|
|Insider dealing and transferring criminal property worth £197,000||23/10/2012||18 months’ imprisonment|
The team at Stuart Miller Solicitors deal with money laundering and fraud cases on a daily basis. Many times, the first instance in which you receive details about the offence you are alleged to have committed will be the police interview (and even then, you may not get much information from the investigating officers at all). Ensure you have an experienced money laundering defence solicitor with you at this meeting, as the police can use highly complex techniques to get information out of you and you need to protect yourself from self-incrimination.
Examples of money laundering cases defended by Stuart Miller Solicitors include:
Sentencing for money laundering cases can be complex because of the sheer number of ways in which the offence may be committed, and the different amounts involved. Generally, the more money involved, the harsher the punishment.
The maximum sentence for money laundering is 14 years’ imprisonment if tried at the Crown Court and a maximum of 12 months if you are being tried for more than one offence at the Magistrate’s Court (the maximum is 12 months if you are being tried for one offence).
As with other crimes, the courts may look at mitigating factors that could reduce the sentence you are given. Mitigating factors might include:
Money laundering may also entail other consequences, such as ancillary orders (additional restrictions on your financial and business life, for example: confiscations, requirements to pay reparations, and paying compensation).
As with other criminal prosecutions, money laundering cases have to be dismissed if there is not sufficient evidence to convict, but where there is evidence against you, you may be able to rely on one of the following general defences to have your sentence reduced or case thrown out altogether:
While not strictly a defence, you might also be able to reduce your sentence for money laundering by entering an early guilty plea. If aged 18 or over, you could reduce your sentence by as much as one third by pleading guilty ‘early on’ (which means anytime up to the first hearing at the Magistrates or Crown Court).
If you would like to speak to a highly experienced criminal defence solicitor with money laundering expertise, look no further than the team at Stuart Miller Solicitors. You can arrange a friendly and non-judgemental meeting in person, online, or by telephone by going to our Contact page, and you can even send us WhatsApp messages to get information on next steps if you prefer.
(This page was last updated on November 28, 2023.)
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