Understanding North Carolina Money Laundering Charges

Are you facing charges of money laundering in North Carolina? While you may think of this crime as strictly a mob activity, the state defines money laundering as any financial transaction involving the proceeds of an illegal activity such as drug trafficking in which someone conceals the source of the funds.

The money laundering laws in North Carolina are a subset of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. RICO laws apply to any group engaged in two or more serious illegal activities, one of which is money laundering.

What is money laundering?

Money laundering is often a federal crime, provided that the person has taken measures to hide the source of the funds in question. Simply making money from an illegal activity such as selling stolen goods does not warrant money laundering charges. Activities that may be money laundering include credit card or bank fraud, drug-related crimes, identity theft, security fraud or mortgage fraud and other white collar crimes.

What are the penalties?

This crime is usually a felony. While some states have laws that prosecute money laundering as a misdemeanor, North Carolina adheres to the federal statutes. Penalties at the federal level may include the following:

  • A year or more in prison for the first offense, with sentences of up to 35 years for repeat offenders
  • A fine of $500,000 or twice the amount of money laundered (whichever is greater)
  • One to three years of probation

Keep in mind, however, that each act of money laundering constitutes a separate penalty. If you used drug proceeds to purchase gift cards, bought items with the gift cards to resell and then deposited those funds in a bank account once a month for a year, you could face 12 counts of money laundering and receive up to 12 years in prison and a fine exceeding $6 million.

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