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Dec. 14 2018

Breaking Down Money Laundering Charges in Illinois

Posted By: Sami Azhari

Breaking Down Money Laundering Charges in Illinois

Are you facing money laundering charges in Illinois? Here’s what you need to know about the laws in our state, and what you can do to fight back and work to beat your charges.

Laws on Money Laundering in Illinois

Money laundering charges are not just for large crime rings or gangsters. The laws on money laundering apply to smaller ventures that involve getting money in any illegal way and taking actions to make it appear legitimate.

Illegal gambling, selling bootleg items, and other acts like these are considered illegal ways to get money. Money laundering is when you take the profits from illegal activities and use them in some kind of financial transaction in order to hide the fact that the money way made through illegal means.

In Illinois, these three elements must be present for a charge of money laundering to apply.

  1. A person attempts to complete or completes a financial transaction. This can be through making a loan, pledge, gift, or transfer; purchasing an item; paying a bill; depositing money into an account; withdrawing money from an account; making transfers between accounts; exchanging currency, loans, or credit extensions; purchasing or selling stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit; using a safety deposit box; or making any other delivery, transfer or payment through, by, or to a financial institution.
  2. For the financial transaction, the person knowingly uses money that was derived from criminal activity.
  3. At the time of the transaction, the person designed the transaction to conceal that the money was derived from criminal activity.

A skilled Chicago criminal attorney will be able to look at the details of your case to seek out evidence to argue against one or more of these elements being present.

Penalties for Illinois Money Laundering

Money laundering is a felony charge in Illinois. If convicted, you could face fines of up to $25,000 and a prison term of 2-15 years. The more money involved in the transactions, the higher the penalties are for your charges.

Penalties for Illinois Money Laundering

The Illinois government has the right to seize your property to compensate for the laundered money. This means you could lose your car, home, jewelry, and any other valuable assets if you are convicted.

Here is a breakdown of the penalties for money laundering in Illinois:

Up to $10,000 in value: Class 3 felony with a prison sentence of 2-5 years

Between $10,000 and $100,000 in value: Class 2 felony with a prison sentence of 3-7 years

Between $100,000 and $500,000 in value: Class 1 felony with a prison sentence of 4-15 years

Over $500,000 in value: Class 1 felony with no probation and a prison sentence of 4-15 years

With penalties this serious, it’s important that you consult with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as charges of money laundering are filed against you.

Defenses to Money Laundering Charges in Illinois

You will need a strong defense to fight money laundering charges in our state. An attorney who has successfully helped other clients defeat similar charges will understand how to help you fight back. These are the most common types of defenses that work to get money laundering charges reduced or dropped.

Lack of evidence

For a conviction to occur, the prosecutor must prove that you acted with intent and understood your actions. If the prosecuting attorney cannot produce enough evidence to prove this, your case could be dismissed.

Honest mistake

Accidents happen, and you may not have understood that what you were doing constituted a crime. With a lack of intent, you could face reduced charges.


It’s possible that someone threatened harm against you or your loved one unless you laundered money according to their directives. Consult an experienced Illinois defense attorney to learn if this defense will work in your situation.

Mental incapacity

You can use this defense if you have proof that you were unaware of the actions you were taking to launder money.

Chicago Money Laundering Defense Attorney

Facing Money Laundering Charges in Illinois? Contact an Expert Attorney

Money laundering in Illinois isn’t just punished severely – these types of cases are often incredibly complex, involving many financial details. To argue against conviction, you need to work with someone who has an in-depth knowledge of this area of the law.

Avoiding a felony conviction will help you protect your income level, housing, credit, and professional licensing. In other words, it will help to guard your reputation, finances, and quality of life. Don’t hesitate to reach out for legal help as soon as charges are filed.

About the Author

Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.