24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Understanding Arizona’s Sentencing Guidelines for Money Laundering Cases

Understanding Arizona’s Money Laundering Laws and Sentencing Guidelines

What is Money Laundering in Arizona?

Money laundering is a serious crime in Arizona – it involves taking money or assets that were obtained illegally, and trying to make them look legit. It’s basically covering up where that dirty money came from, so you can use it without getting caught. According to Arizona law, money laundering can happen in a few different ways:

  • Acquiring, transferring, transporting, or concealing money/assets that you know are from illegal activities like racketeering or drug trafficking
  • Making property available to someone else, knowing it’ll be used for illegal stuff like racketeering
  • Doing transactions to try and hide where money came from or who really owns it, when you know it’s from crimes
  • Lying on financial documents or failing to report certain transactions as required by law
  • Intentionally structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements
  • Providing false info or failing to disclose info that causes a business to not file required reports
  • Falsifying, concealing, or misrepresenting identities related to financial transactions
  • Using forged documents for money transfers if you’re a money transmitting business
  • Operating an unlicensed money transmitting business

So in simple terms – if you‘re trying to “clean” dirty money from crimes by disguising where it really came from, that’s money laundering. And it’s a huge no-no in Arizona.

The Different “Degrees” of Money Laundering Charges

Arizona separates money laundering charges into three “degrees” based on how serious the crime is. Kind of like having misdemeanors and felonies, but with some extra layers:

Money Laundering in the Third Degree
This is the lowest level money laundering charge. It involves smaller crimes like:

  • Giving something of value to a money transfer business employee to influence them to break the rules
  • Working at a money transfer business and taking bribes/payments to ignore the regulations

Third degree is a Class 6 felony, which is on the lower end of Arizona felony charges.

Money Laundering in the Second Degree
The second degree charge kicks in when bigger money laundering activities are involved, like:

  • Acquiring, transferring, or concealing proceeds from racketeering/illegal activities
  • Making property available for racketeering
  • Doing transactions to hide illegal money while knowing it’s from crimes
  • Lying on financial docs or failing to report transactions as required
  • Intentionally structuring deals to avoid reporting requirements
  • Providing false info to businesses so they don’t file required reports
  • Concealing identities related to shady financial transactions
  • Using forged documents for money transfers

Second degree money laundering is considered a Class 3 felony, which is a pretty serious charge in Arizona.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

Money Laundering in the First Degree
This is the highest level and most serious money laundering charge. You can get hit with first degree if:

  • You organized, planned, financed, or supervised a larger money laundering operation
  • The money laundering was done to facilitate really serious crimes like terrorism or murder

First degree money laundering is a Class 2 felony, which is one of the most serious felony classes in Arizona’s criminal code.So as you can see, the “degree” of the charge depends a lot on the scale of the money laundering activities and what other crimes may have been involved. The higher the degree, the stiffer the potential punishments.

Potential Sentences for Money Laundering in Arizona

Now let‘s dive into what kind of sentences you could be looking at if convicted of money laundering in Arizona, based on the degree:

Third Degree Sentences:

  • First offense: Up to 2 years in prison
  • Second offense: 9 months to 2.75 years
  • Third offense: 2.25 to 5.75 years

Second Degree Sentences:

  • First offense: Probation up to 1 year in jail, OR 2 to 8.75 years prison
  • Second offense: 3.5 to 16.25 years prison
  • Third offense: 7.5 to 25 years prison

First Degree Sentences:

  • First offense: Up to 12.5 years prison
  • Second offense: 4.5 to 23.25 years prison
  • Third offense: 10.5 to 35 years prison

A couple extra crucial points on sentencing:

  • If the total money laundered was over $100,000 in a 12-month period, you could be fined 3x the laundered amount on top of the prison sentence
  • Your assets related to the money laundering can potentially be seized

So in a nutshell – third degree is on the lower end, second degree is pretty dang serious, and first degree money laundering can potentially land you decades behind bars, especially if you’re a repeat offender. Not something to mess around with.

Factors That Can Increase Your Sentence

There are certain factors that can make your money laundering sentence even harsher in Arizona if present:

  • The laundered money was from drug trafficking, violence, weapons, national security threats, or child exploitation – adds 6 levels to the offense
  • You were in a leadership/supervisory role in the laundering operation
  • The amount of money laundered was extremely high (e.g. millions)
  • You obstructed the investigation or justice process
  • You have prior convictions for money laundering or related financial crimes

Basically, the more organized and large-scale the operation was, the more ties it had to other serious crimes, and the more you tried to cover it up – the worse it’ll look for your sentence.On the flip side, having a minor role and cooperating can potentially lead to a reduced sentence. But don’t count on the courts going easy if you got caught up in major money laundering activities.

Potential Defenses for Money Laundering Charges

If you do get charged with money laundering in Arizona, there are some potential legal defenses your criminal defense lawyer may use, like:

  • You lacked actual knowledge that the money was from illegal activities
  • The money was not really from any unlawful sources
  • You were entrapped or coerced into the activities
  • Evidence was obtained illegally by law enforcement
  • Prosecutorial misconduct occurred
  • The amount of money allegedly laundered was miscalculated

Your lawyer will analyze all the specifics of your case to determine if any of those defenses, or others, may apply. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, so any reasonable doubt created could get the charges reduced or dismissed.It’s crucial to have an experienced money laundering defense attorney on your side from the very start. The feds and state take these cases extremely seriously.

Why Money Laundering is a High Priority for Law Enforcement

You might be wondering – why do the cops and prosecutors go so hard after money laundering cases? A few key reasons:

  1. It’s a way to disrupt criminal organizations and cut off their funding sources for other serious crimes like drug trafficking, fraud, and even terrorism. Follow the money trail and you can unravel entire criminal enterprises.
  2. Huge amounts of illegally-obtained cash can really screw up the legitimate financial system and economies if not stopped. We’re talking billions potentially getting laundered.
  3. It’s a high-priority federal crime under statutes like the Money Laundering Control Act. Lots of agencies like the FBI, IRS, and DHS have money laundering in their crosshairs.
  4. Asset forfeiture laws allow law enforcement to seize assets and property tied to money laundering, which is a big incentive.

So while money laundering may seem kind of removed from street-level crimes, it’s actually a major focus for prosecutors and federal agencies due to its potential to enable other serious criminal activity and economic impacts. They take it very, very seriously.

How to Avoid Getting Caught Up in Money Laundering

Okay, so after reading all that, you‘re probably thinking – I definitely don’t want any part of money laundering! Smart move. It’s one of those crimes that can completely derail your life if convicted.But what if you run a cash-intensive business like a restaurant, car wash, etc.? Or frequently send money to family in another country? Could you accidentally get ensnared in a money laundering investigation?Here are some tips from the experts on staying out of trouble:

  • Be very cautious about dealing with large cash transactions, especially if the source seems unclear. Document everything meticulously.
  • Avoid taking payments or money transfers from sources you can’t verify as legitimate. Don’t get greedy.
  • Cooperate fully with any reporting requirements for cash transactions over $10,000. Don’t try to structure deals to avoid this.
  • Use only licensed and reputable money transfer services. Avoid under-the-table methods.
  • Consult a lawyer if you have any concerns about the legality of financial dealings. It’s better to be safe.

The bottom line is – if something seems even a little bit shady with where money is coming from or how it’s being moved, steer clear. Money laundering charges can arise from what seems innocent, so it’s crucial to be proactive.

When to Hire a Federal Money Laundering Lawyer

If you do happen to get caught up in a money laundering investigation, whether you think you’re innocent or not, it’s absolutely vital to get a top money laundering lawyer involved immediately.The federal government, IRS, and agencies like Homeland Security do not mess around with these cases. They will throw the book at you if they can prove money laundering, regardless of whether you were the mastermind.An experienced money laundering defense attorney can intervene early, protect your rights, look for holes in the prosecution’s case, and give you the best chance at avoiding maximum penalties. The stakes are simply too high to try and go it alone.

Schedule Your Consultation Now