Money laundering occurs when money derived through criminal activities is transferred to appear as though it was earned through legitimate means. Some common activities that usually involve money laundering are organized crime and drug transactions. Massachusetts, like most other states, classifies money laundering as a serious crime.
Key Terms in Massachusetts Money Laundering Laws
When it comes to understanding money laundering, it's helpful to first define certain key terms. For example, in Massachusetts, a "financial institution" not only includes banks and credit unions, but also dealers in precious metals or jewels, pawn shops, gaming or betting establishments, and car dealers, to name a few. Other important terms related to Massachusetts money laundering laws are listed below:
- Criminal activity: a criminal offense that's punishable under Massachusetts laws by time in state prison, or a criminal offense that's punishable as a felony in another jurisdiction.
- Monetary instrument: these include U.S. and foreign currency, gemstones (i.e. diamonds, emeralds, etc.), stocks, checks, credit/debit cards, gift certificates/cards, chips and vouchers exchangeable for cash at casinos.
- Transaction: a sale, purchase, loan, gift, transfer, deposit, withdrawal, exchange of currency, purchase or sale of stocks or bonds, or use of a safe deposit box.
Summary of Massachusetts Money Laundering Laws
It's important to read the law itself when you have a legal issue, but this can be problematic, especially when you're looking for a quick answer, because laws are usually written in a way that can take time to interpret and understand. For this reason, reading a summary of the laws in plain English can be a helpful first step in understand the law. The following chart provides a summary of Massachusetts money laundering laws and links to relevant statutes.
Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 267A, Section 1, et seq. (Money Laundering)
Money laundering occurs when a person knowingly does one of the following:
- Possesses or transports a monetary instrument or other property that's derived from criminal activity with the intent to promote or continue criminal activity.
- Engages in a transaction that involves a monetary instrument or other property that's known to be derived from criminal activity (1) with the intent to promote or continue criminal activity; or (2) knowing the transaction is designed to conceal information about the property or avoid a transaction reporting requirement.
- Directs, manages, finances, supervises or controls the transportation of, or transactions in, monetary instruments or other property that they know is derived from criminal activity or that a reasonable person would believe was derived from criminal activity.
Money laundering is punishable by:
- First Offense: up to six years in state prison and/or a fine up to $250,000 or twice the value of the property transacted (whichever is greater).
- Subsequent Offense: two to eight years and/or a fine of up to $500,000 or 3 times the value of the property transacted (whichever is greater).
All monetary instruments and any other real, personal, or intellectual property that has been obtained directly from violation of Section 2 is also subject to forfeiture to the state.
Massachusetts General Laws, Part IV, Title I, Chapter 271A, Section 1, et seq. (Enterprise Crime)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Massachusetts Money Laundering Laws: Related Resources
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Charged with Money Laundering in Massachusetts? Get Legal Help
Money laundering is a serious crime in Massachusetts and a conviction can result in prison time and hefty fines. If you've been arrested for money laundering, it's in your best interest to get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney who can explain how Massachusetts money laundering laws apply to your specific situation.