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A.R.S. § 13-2317 describes three degrees of money laundering very broadly.


A person is guilty of money laundering in the first degree if the person knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages, or supervises the money laundering; is in the business of money laundering; or commits money laundering  in the course of or for the purpose of facilitating terrorism or murder.  Money laundering in the first degree is a Class 2 felony punishable by 3 to 12.5 years in prison for a first time felony offense. 


A person is guilty of money laundering in the second degree if his or her conduct falls under one or more of the ten broad sets of facts found in  A.R.S. § 13-2317 (B)(1)-(10).   Money laundering in the second degree is a Class 3 felony punishable by 2 to 8.75 years in prison for a first time felony offense.

“You’re not a drug dealer or terrorist simply because you’re charged with money laundering.”  Lisa Witt

A person is guilty of money laundering in the third degree if the person intentionally or knowingly confers or agrees to give anything of value to a money transmitter or any employee of a money transmitter to influence or reward any person for failing to comply with title 6, chapter 12, concerning prohibited banking practices or engages in the business of receiving money for transmission or transmitting money in any capacity and receives anything of value upon an agreement or understanding that it is intended to influence or benefit the person for failing to comply with any requirement under title 6, chapter 12, concerning prohibited banking practices.  Money laundering in the third degree is a Class 6 felony punishable by .33 to 2 years in prison for a first time felony offense.  If a person has a pattern of either first degree or second degree money laundering conduct that totals one hundred thousand dollars or more in any twelve month period, the person is subject to forfeiture of substitute assets in an amount that is three times the amount that was involved in the pattern, including conduct that occurred before and after the twelve month period.


18 U.S.C. § 1957 defines money laundering as whoever knowingly engages or attempts to engage in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property valued at more than $10,000.00 obtained from specified unlawful activity.  The money laundering must have taken place in the United States or the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or the person is a United States person whose money laundering takes place outside the jurisdiction of the United States.  Money laundering is punishable by a fine, imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both.  The court may impose an alternate fine of not more than twice the amount of the criminally derived property.



A money laundering charge usually involves complicated facts and complex legal issues.  Lisa is an intelligent, detail-oriented defense attorney who will thoroughly evaluate your case and determine if one or more of the following potential defense strategies apply:

“These cases often involve complicated accounting—which I understand.”

  Lisa Witt

  • Act described is not money laundering:  The act described in the indictment may not fit the statutory definition of money laundering.


  • Lack of intent:  You may not have the intent required to prove money laundering.


  • Incorrect calculation of money laundering amount:  The government may have incorrectly calculated the money laundering amount.


  • The property is not criminally derived:  The property is not derived from any criminal activity.


  • Law enforcement misconduct:  There may be law enforcement misconduct in investigating the charge, collecting the evidence, interviewing the victim and witnesses, or obtaining your confession.


  • Government witnesses are mistaken or not credible about what happened.


  • Missing or tainted evidence:  Sometimes the government’s evidence is missing or tainted.


  • Implausibility of government’s story:  The government’s story may be implausible based on the timeline or other evidence.


  • Preclusion of government’s evidence:  The government may have violated your constitutional rights or otherwise acted wrongly in obtaining evidence or getting your confession, so the evidence must be precluded.


  • Insufficiency of government’s evidence:  The government may have insufficient evidence to prove money laundering beyond a reasonable doubt.


  • Reduction in number of counts: Each count of your indictment should concern a separate criminal act or victim and not be parts of the same money laundering.


  • Prosecutorial misconduct:  There may be prosecutorial misconduct in disclosing the evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, or in the general proceeding of your case.


  • Possible other defenses to money laundering:  Depending on the unique facts of your case, there may be other possible defenses.  Lisa employs logical, bottom line analysis while thinking outside the box so she may come up with a novel defense that no other attorney has thought of before.


If you or a loved one is facing a charge of money laundering, it’s very important to hire a thorough, intelligent and passionate defense attorney who will fight for you as soon as possible.  Call LisaLaw, LLC or fill out the on-line form for a free case review.

Lisa Witt is a Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona money laundering defense attorney serving clients facing charges in the East Valley, West Valley, Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Surprise, Goodyear, Buckeye, Youngtown, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tolleson.

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