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Michigan Money Laundering Laws

When you take money gained through illegal means and filter it through a series of financial transactions to make the proceeds appear to be legal, you've committed the offense of money laundering. There are many methods to launder money including instances where actual money isn't even involved during every step of the procedure, while any bank transaction could constitute money laundering. For instance, a drug trafficker deposits the ill-gotten funds into a bank. The dirty funds are then "laundered" by conversion into wire transfers or securities such as stocks or bonds. Then via the legal transactions, the proceeds are transferred back to the drug trafficker.

Degrees of Money Laundering in Michigan

Michigan recognizes four degrees of money laundering, based on factors including the value of the proceeds of the crime involved and whether the crime involved drugs. First-degree money laundering is a felony and is the most serious of the offenses. It occurs when the value of the proceeds or substituted proceeds of the crime involved is $10,000 or more and the underlying criminal act is a drug offense. Additionally, the activity must promote the commission of a crime, hide the source of the funds, or avoid state or federal reporting requirements.

On the other end of the spectrum is money laundering in the fourth degree, which is the only money laundering offense that is a misdemeanor. Fourth-degree money laundering occurs when an individual knowingly receives or acquires monetary proceeds of crime and has prior knowledge that the proceeds will help in the commission of a crime or proceeds are designed to conceal their origins or to avoid reporting requirements.

Michigan Money Laundering Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of statutes related to Michigan's money laundering laws, including links to important code sections.



The actual penalties depend on factors such as the number of underlying offenses and the specific circumstances of the case. Property that was purchased with laundered money is subject to seizure and forfeiture.

  • First-degree money laundering: felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $500,000 or twice the value of the proceeds/substituted proceeds, whichever is greater.
  • Second-degree money laundering: felony, punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $100,000 or twice the value of the proceeds, whichever is greater.
  • Third-degree money laundering: felony, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000 or twice the value of the proceeds, whichever is greater.
  • Fourth-degree money laundering: misdemeanor, punishable by up to 2 years in jail and/or a fine of either $10,000 or twice the amount of money involved in the crime, whichever is greater.

Possible Defenses

  • Lack of intent
  • Duress
  • Entrapment
  • Lack of knowledge (defendant unaware that the money received was obtained illegally)

Related Offense

  • Drug manufacture or possession with intent to deliver: Michigan Compiled Laws 333.7401

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.

Michigan Money Laundering Laws: Related Resources

Facing Money Laundering Charges in Michigan? Get Legal Help

Money laundering charges are serious business. If you're convicted in Michigan, you could lose your freedom, your property, and your money. An experienced attorney can assess your case and give you options. Get in touch with a local criminal defense attorney today to learn more.

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