Money laundering is punishable as a crime in New Jersey, but the terms of the money laundering statute are less than clear. Specifically, there is a debate as to the meaning of the phrase “amount involved,” which is used to determine the severity of the offense. Thus, a New Jersey court recently clarified the meaning of the term in a case in which the defendant appealed his conviction for money laundering. If you are charged with money laundering or another fraud crime, it is advisable to speak to a trusted New Jersey criminal defense attorney regarding what defenses you may be able to assert.
Facts of the Case
Reportedly, the defendant took merchandise from his employer’s warehouse without permission. The merchandise had been purchased by the employer for $878,000 but had a value of approximately $4,000,000. The defendant then sold a portion of the merchandise for $63,000 to a woman in New Hampshire. The defendant was then charged with numerous crimes, including first-degree money laundering, which pursuant to the money laundering statute is an offense where the amount involved is greater than $500,000.
Allegedly, the defendant moved to have the charges amended to third-degree money laundering, which was an offense where the amount involved was less than $75,000, due to the fact that he only received $63,000 for the stolen goods. The judge then determined that the amount involved was $283,500, which constituted a second-degree offense. The State appealed.