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Criminal Defence Lawyers in Sydney for Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Cases

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Expert lawyers for Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime

Money laundering and proceeds of crime is a discrete area of white collar crime that requires up-to-date knowledge of applicable legislation, case-law and legal framework as well as the ability to gather, decipher, synthesise and absorb complex financial arrangements and data, and weaponize that information with a view to having charges withdrawn or dismissed in court, and protecting client assets.

The experienced defence team at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® has been consistently defending and winning money laundering and proceeds of crime cases for well over two decades, as well as producing exceptional outcomes for individual and corporate clients in associated asset restraint, freezing and forfeiture proceedings.

Our law firm has been instrumental in setting legal precedents regarding the scope and application of legislative provisions in the field since 2001, paving the way for other firms to rely on our positive outcomes to help obtain favourable outcomes of their own.

If you require profession-leading representation from a defence team with unparalleled knowledge and experience in money laundering and proceeds of crime cases, call us today on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a confidential, obligation-free initial consultation.

Find a Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime lawyer near me

If you’re looking for a defence law firm with a multi award winning team of lawyers who are vastly experienced in money laundering and proceeds of crime cases, we have you covered.

Sydney Criminal Lawyers has office locations across the Sydney metropolitan area and beyond, including in the Sydney CBD (our head offices), Parramatta, Sutherland, Liverpool, Bankstown, Penrith, Chatswood,  Wollongong, Newcastle and Cessnock.

You can use our find a lawyer near me search to locate the office nearest to you.

Our experienced criminal defence lawyers represent clients in courts across New South Wales as well as beyond state borders for money laundering and proceeds of crime cases, which is a specialised field that should only be handled by the lawyers with an in-depth knowledge of the laws that apply and are able to formulate and implement defence and asset protection strategies that produce favourable outcome.

How Can an Experienced Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Lawyer Assist?

If you are going to court over allegations of money laundering or proceeds of crime, a defence lawyer who is vastly experienced in the area can assist by:

Evaluating the prosecution evidence

This assessment will involve identifying deficiencies, inconsistencies and other potential weaknesses in the allegations, as well as procedural issues which may be capitalised on such as where a search is considered illegal under the requirements of the law.

Explaining the law and how it applies to your situation

This will involve communicating the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution case to you, as well as the available legal defences.

Obtaining your account of the events

This will involve obtaining your account of what actually occurred surrounding the relevant period, as opposed to what the prosecution claims happened.

It will also identify any legal defences that may apply in your case. These can include general legal defences such as duress, necessity and automatism, as well as statutory defences and exceptions that apply to specific offences such as assisting in the enforcement of a law in he context of offences against knowingly or recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime, and having no knowledge the property was derived from crime in relation to offences against reasonably suspected proceeds of crime.

Explaining your options and advising you on the best way forward

This will include advice on whether it is most advantageous to plead not guilty or guilty, and in either case the optimal way to proceed with your matter.

Formulating and implementing an effective defence strategy

If you decide to plead not guilty, this will often involve pushing for the charges to be dropped by sending ‘representations’ to the prosecution and following this formal document up with intense negotiations for withdrawal.

If the case nevertheless proceeds to a defended hearing or jury trial, a specialist defence lawyer with up-to-date knowledge of, and vast experience in, money laundering and proceeds of crime cases will fight to have the charges dismissed in court.

In you decide to plead guilty, your lawyer will guide you on the preparation of relevant materials such as your apology letter to the court and character references, as well as advise you on available programs you may wish to undertake to address any underlying issues.

Your lawyer will thoroughly prepare and persuasively present your case in court in order to achieve the most lenient outcome possible, including helping you to avoid a criminal record through a ‘non conviction order’ where appropriate.

If you have been accused of a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free consultation with an experienced defence lawyer with an exceptional track record of obtaining successful outcomes in these types of cases.

Protecting your assets

In the event proceedings are brought against you for the restraint, freezing or forfeiture of assets suspected of being the proceeds of crime, we will liaise with the applicant, whether it be the New South Wales Crime Commission or Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, with a view to having the application withdrawn or, if the case proceeds to a hearing, dismissed in court.

Types of Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Offences

Here are some of the most frequently prosecuted money laundering offences in New South Wales: 

Money laundering offences:

Knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime with intent to conceal

Knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime with intent to conceal is an offence under section 193B(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with the proceeds of crime,
  2. You knew it was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. You intended to conceal that it was the proceeds of crime.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

To ‘cause’ includes to direct or facilitate.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that your actions were to assist in the enforcement of a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime

Knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime is an offence under section 193B(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with the proceeds of crime, and
  2. You knew it was the proceeds of crime.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

To ‘cause’ includes to direct or facilitate.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that your actions were to assist in the enforcement of a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime

Recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime is an offence under section 193B(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with the proceeds of crime, and
  2. You were reckless as to whether it was the proceeds of crime.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

To ‘cause’ includes to direct or facilitate.

You were reckless if you realised at the time of your conduct that the property could possibly be the proceeds of crime but you went ahead regardless.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that your actions were to assist in the enforcement of a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing with proceeds of general crime with intent to conceal - $100,000 or more

Recklessly dealing with the proceeds of general crime with intent to conceal is an offence under section 193BA(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with the proceeds of general crime,
  2. You did so with the intention of concealing or disguising features of the property,
  3. You were reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of general crime, and 
  4. The property had a value of $100,000 or more.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of general crime is money or other property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by a person from the commission of a law against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or another country.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

To ‘cause’ includes to direct or facilitate.

You were reckless if you realised at the time of your conduct that the property could possibly be the proceeds of general crime but you went ahead regardless.

Matters that may be relevant in determining whether you intended to conceal or disguise features of the money or other property include its nature, value, source, location, any disposition or movement, any rights relating to it, and the identity of a person who has rights to it or effective control over it.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that your actions were to assist in the enforcement of a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing with proceeds of general crime - $100,000 or more

Recklessly dealing with the proceeds of general crime is an offence under section 193BA(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with the proceeds of general crime,
  2. You were reckless as to whether the property was the proceeds of general crime, and 
  3. The property had a value of $100,000 or more.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of general crime is money or other property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by a person from the commission of a law against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or another country.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

To ‘cause’ includes to direct or facilitate.

You were reckless if you realised at the time of your conduct that the property could possibly be the proceeds of general crime but you went ahead regardless.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that your actions were to assist in the enforcement of a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Suspected proceeds of crime offences:

Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime - $5,000,000 or more

Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime valued at $5,000,000 or more is an offence under section 193C(1AA) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 8 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with property,
  2. There were reasonable grounds to suspect the property was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. The property was worth at least $5,000,000.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

Section 193CA of the Act provides that there are reasonable grounds to suspect property is the proceeds of crime if:

For the present offence, the dealing involves a number of transactions structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Financial Transactions Reporting Act 1988 (Cth).

For the present and each other suspected proceeds of crime offences:

  • The dealing involves a number of transactions structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth),
  • The dealing amounts to an offence against section 139 (Providing a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity), 140 (Receiving a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity) or 141 (Customer commonly known by 2 or more different names) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), 
  • The dealing involves a significant cash transaction, within the meaning of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth), and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves a threshold transaction within the meaning of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) Commonwealth, and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves using one or more accounts held with authorised deposit-taking institutions in false names,
  • You had in your physical possession more than $100,000 in cash without lawful excuse,
  • The value of the property involved is grossly out of proportion to your income and expenditure over a reasonable period within which the dealing occurred,
  • The dealing involves the use of a token or other unique identifier that preserves the anonymity of one or more of the parties to the dealing,
  • The dealing involved the use or possession of falsely subscribed telecommunication services, or a dedicated encrypted communication device,
  • You possessed or accessed instructions that were consistent with money laundering,
  • The dealing involved a clandestine meeting or the use of a concealed compartment,
  • You stated that the dealing was engaged in on behalf of or at the request of another person and did not provide information enabling the other person to be identified and located.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting the property was substantially derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory or another country.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Aggravated dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime - $5,000,000 or more

Aggravated dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime valued at $5,000,000 or more is an offence under section 193C(1AB) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with property,
  2. There were reasonable grounds to suspect the property was the proceeds of crime,
  3. The property was worth at least $5,000,000, and
  4. Your conduct occurred in circumstances of aggravation.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

Section 193CA of the Act provides that there are reasonable grounds to suspect property is the proceeds of crime if:

  • The dealing involves a number of transactions structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth),
  • The dealing amounts to an offence against section 139 (Providing a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity), 140 (Receiving a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity) or 141 (Customer commonly known by 2 or more different names) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), 
  • The dealing involves a significant cash transaction, within the meaning of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth), and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves a threshold transaction within the meaning of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) Commonwealth, and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves using one or more accounts held with authorised deposit-taking institutions in false names,
  • You had in your physical possession more than $100,000 in cash without lawful excuse,
  • The value of the property involved is grossly out of proportion to your income and expenditure over a reasonable period within which the dealing occurred,
  • The dealing involves the use of a token or other unique identifier that preserves the anonymity of one or more of the parties to the dealing,
  • The dealing involved the use or possession of falsely subscribed telecommunication services, or a dedicated encrypted communication device,
  • You possessed or accessed instructions that were consistent with money laundering,
  • The dealing involved a clandestine meeting or the use of a concealed compartment,
  • You stated that the dealing was engaged in on behalf of or at the request of another person and did not provide information enabling the other person to be identified and located.

‘Circumstances of aggravation’ are where:

  • You used a position of professional trust or fiduciary duty to commit the offence, 
  • You committed the offence in the context of a criminal group, serious crime organisation or serious criminal activity, 
  • You committed the offence to fund or support terrorism,
  • You provided finance to enable part or all of the dealings in property, or
  • You committed the offence for the purposes of transferring the value of the property out of New South Wales.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting the property was substantially derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory or another country.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime - $100,000 to $5,000,000

Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime with a value of at least $100,000 but less than $5,000,000 is an offence under section 193C(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with property,
  2. There were reasonable grounds to suspect the property was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. The property was worth at least $100,000 but less than $5,000,000.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

Section 193CA of the Act provides that there are reasonable grounds to suspect property is the proceeds of crime if:

  • The dealing involves a number of transactions structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth),
  • The dealing amounts to an offence against section 139 (Providing a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity), 140 (Receiving a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity) or 141 (Customer commonly known by 2 or more different names) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), 
  • The dealing involves a significant cash transaction, within the meaning of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth), and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves a threshold transaction within the meaning of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) Commonwealth, and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves using one or more accounts held with authorised deposit-taking institutions in false names,
  • You had in your physical possession more than $100,000 in cash without lawful excuse,
  • The value of the property involved is grossly out of proportion to your income and expenditure over a reasonable period within which the dealing occurred,
  • The dealing involves the use of a token or other unique identifier that preserves the anonymity of one or more of the parties to the dealing,
  • The dealing involved the use or possession of falsely subscribed telecommunication services, or a dedicated encrypted communication device,
  • You possessed or accessed instructions that were consistent with money laundering,
  • The dealing involved a clandestine meeting or the use of a concealed compartment,
  • You stated that the dealing was engaged in on behalf of or at the request of another person and did not provide information enabling the other person to be identified and located.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting the property was substantially derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory or another country.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime – less than $100,000

Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime worth less than $100,000 is an offence under section 193C(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with property,
  2. There were reasonable grounds to suspect the property was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. The property was worth less than $100,000.

‘Dealt with’ includes to:

  • Receive, possess, conceal or dispose of, 
  • Bring or cause to be brought into New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication,
  • Send or cause to be sent out of New South Wales, including to transfer or cause to be transferred by electronic communication, or
  • Engage directly or indirectly in a transaction, including to receive or make a gift.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is defined as any property that is used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, a serious offence.

‘Property’ is defined extremely broadly to include every description of real and personal property, money, valuable securities, debts, and legacies, and all deeds and instruments relating to, or evidencing the title or right to any property, or giving a right to recover or receive any money or goods, and not only property originally in the possession or under the control of a person, but also property into or for which  it may have been converted or exchanged, as well as everything acquired by such conversion or exchange, whether immediately or otherwise.

A ‘serious offence’ is:

  • A New South Wales or Commonwealth offence that can be prosecuted on indictment,
  • An offence of supplying a restricted substance that is prescribed under section 16 of the Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 (NSW), or
  • An offence outside New South Wales that would be an offence under the foregoing if it had been committed in the state.

An offence that can be prosecuted on indictment is one which can be committed to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court. These offences generally carry a maximum penalty of a prison sentence exceeding two years.

Section 193CA of the Act provides that there are reasonable grounds to suspect property is the proceeds of crime if:

  • The dealing involves a number of transactions structured or arranged to avoid the reporting requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth),
  • The dealing amounts to an offence against section 139 (Providing a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity), 140 (Receiving a designated service using a false customer name or customer anonymity) or 141 (Customer commonly known by 2 or more different names) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth), 
  • The dealing involves a significant cash transaction, within the meaning of the Financial Transaction Reports Act 1988 (Cth), and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves a threshold transaction within the meaning of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 (Cth) Commonwealth, and you contravened your obligations under that Act relating to reporting the transaction, or gave false or misleading information in purported compliance with those obligations,
  • The dealing involves using one or more accounts held with authorised deposit-taking institutions in false names,
  • You had in your physical possession more than $100,000 in cash without lawful excuse,
  • The value of the property involved is grossly out of proportion to your income and expenditure over a reasonable period within which the dealing occurred,
  • The dealing involves the use of a token or other unique identifier that preserves the anonymity of one or more of the parties to the dealing,
  • The dealing involved the use or possession of falsely subscribed telecommunication services, or a dedicated encrypted communication device,
  • You possessed or accessed instructions that were consistent with money laundering,
  • The dealing involved a clandestine meeting or the use of a concealed compartment,
  • You stated that the dealing was engaged in on behalf of or at the request of another person and did not provide information enabling the other person to be identified and located.

You are not guilty of the offence if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting the property was substantially derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from an offence against a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory or another country.

General legal defences to the offence include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Here are some of the most frequently prosecuted money laundering offences under Commonwealth legislation, which applies across Australia:

Money laundering offences:

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime - $1,000,000 or more

Intentionally dealing in the proceeds of crime with a value of $1,000,000 or more is an offence under section 400.3(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was, and you believed it was, the proceeds of crime, or you intended for it to become an instrument of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was $1,000,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000,000 or more

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $1,000,000 or more is an offence under section 400.3(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were reckless as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $1,000,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk the money or property was the proceeds of crime, or that there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000,000 or more

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $1,000,000 or more is an offence under section 400.3(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were negligent as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $1,000,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘negligent’ if:

  1. Your conduct represented a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and
  2. There was such a high risk the money or property in question was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime that your conduct merits criminal punishment.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of at least $100,000 is an offence under section 400.4(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was, and you believed it was, the proceeds of crime, or you intended for it to become an instrument of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was $100,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of at least $100,000 is an offence under section 400.4(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were reckless as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $100,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk the money or property was the proceeds of crime, or that there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of at least $100,000 is an offence under section 400.4(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were negligent as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $100,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘negligent’ if:

  1. Your conduct represented a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and
  2. There was such a high risk the money or property in question was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime that your conduct merits criminal punishment.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $50,000 or more

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $50,000 or more is an offence under section 400.5(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was, and you believed it was, the proceeds of crime, or you intended for it to become an instrument of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was $50,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $50,000 or more

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $50,000 or more is an offence under section 400.5(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 7 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were reckless as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $50,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk the money or property was the proceeds of crime, or that there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $50,000 or more

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $50,000 or more is an offence under section 400.5(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime.
  3. You were negligent as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $50,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘negligent’ if:

  1. Your conduct represented a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and
  2. There was such a high risk the money or property in question was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime that your conduct merits criminal punishment.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $10,000 or more

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $10,000 or more is an offence under section 400.6(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property
  2. The money or property was, and you believed it was, the proceeds of crime, or you intended for it to become an instrument of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was $10,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $10,000 or more

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $10,000 or more is an offence under section 400.6(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were reckless as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $10,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk the money or property was the proceeds of crime, or that there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $10,000 or more

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $10,000 or more is an offence under section 400.6(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were negligent as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $10,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘negligent’ if:

  1. Your conduct represented a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and
  2. There was such a high risk the money or property in question was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime that your conduct merits criminal punishment.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000 or more

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $1,000 or more is an offence under section 400.7(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was, and you believed it was, the proceeds of crime, or you intended for it to become an instrument of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was $1,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000 or more

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $1,000 or more is an offence under section 400.7(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime,
  3. You were reckless as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $1000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk the money or property was the proceeds of crime, or that there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000 or more

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime with a value of $1,000 or more is an offence under section 400.7(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime
  3. You were negligent as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime, and
  4. The value of the money and/or property was $1,000 or more.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘negligent’ if:

  1. Your conduct represented a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and
  2. There was such a high risk the money or property in question was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime that your conduct merits criminal punishment.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – any value

Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime of any value is an offence under section 400.8(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property, and
  2. The money or property was, and you believed it was, the proceeds of crime, or you intended for it to become an instrument of crime.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – any value

Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime of any value is an offence is an offence under section 400.8(2) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 6 months in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property,
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and
  3. You were reckless as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘reckless’ if you were aware there was a substantial risk the money or property was the proceeds of crime, or that there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and it was unjustifiable to take that risk, but you went ahead with your actions regardless.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – any value

Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime of any value is an offence under section 400.8(3) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty equivalent to a fine of 10 penalty units.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money or other property
  2. The money or property was the proceeds of crime, or there was a risk it would become an instrument of crime, and
  3. You were negligent as to whether the money or property was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

An ‘instrument of crime’ is money or property used in the commission of, or to facilitate the commission of, an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

You were ‘negligent’ if:

  1. Your conduct represented a great falling short of the standard of care that a reasonable person would have exercised in the circumstances, and
  2. There was such a high risk the money or property in question was the proceeds of crime or would become an instrument of crime that your conduct merits criminal punishment.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Suspected proceeds of crime offences:

Dealing in property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime - $100,000 or more

Dealing in property that is reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime in the value of at least $100,000 is an offence under section 400.9(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money and/or property,
  2. It was reasonable to suspect the money and/or property was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was at least $100,000.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Dealing in property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime - $1000,000 or more

Dealing in property that is reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime in the value of at least $1,000,000 is an offence under section 400.9(1AB) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 4 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money and/or property,
  2. It was reasonable to suspect the money and/or property was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was at least $1 million.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Dealing in property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime - $10,000,000 or more

Dealing in property that is reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime in the value of at least $10,000,000 is an offence under section 400.9(1AA) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dealt with money and/or property
  2. It was reasonable to suspect the money and/or property was the proceeds of crime, and
  3. The value of the money and/or property was at least $10 million.

The definition of ‘dealt with’ encompasses:

  1. Receiving, possessing, concealing or disposing,
  2. Importing into or exporting from Australia, and
  3. Engaging in a banking transaction.

‘Importing’ or ‘exporting’ includes physical transferal, as well as transferal by electronic communication.

‘Property’ is real or personal property of any description, whether in Australia or elsewhere, whether tangible or intangible, including any interest in the property. The definition encompasses financial instruments, cards and other objects that represent or can be exchanged for money.

‘Proceeds of crime’ is property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence.

An ‘indictable offence’ is one which may be dealt with in a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

Legal defences to the charge include duress, claim of right, necessity and mental illness.

Defending Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Charges

An experienced defence lawyer with a comprehensive understanding of the laws that apply to money laundering and proceeds of crime offences including requirements of proof and available legal defences will maximise the prospects of having the charges withdrawn at an early stage, or dismissed in court if they nevertheless proceed to a defended hearing or jury trial.

In that regard, it is important to be aware that in order to establish a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence, the prosecution must prove several ‘essential elements’ (or ingredients) beyond a reasonable doubt.

If it is unable to prove any of these elements, you are entitled to an acquittal (a not guilty verdict).

It is also important to know that in the event evidence of a general legal defence is raised, the onus then shifts to the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt the defence does not apply to the circumstances of the case. You are entitled to an acquittal if the prosecution is unable to do this.

There are also what are known as ‘statutory legal defences’ that apply to specific money laundering and proceeds of crime offences. You are entitled to an acquittal in the event such defences are established ‘on the balance of probabilities, meaning they are more likely than not.

A specialist defence lawyer with a comprehensive understanding of the laws, processes and procedures that relate to money laundering and proceeds of crime offences, as well as the available legal defences and how these apply to the facts of a case will frequently be able to have the charges withdrawn well-before the proceedings reach a defended hearing (in the Local Court) or a trial (in the District or Supreme Court).

This can be done by preparing and serving a formal document on the prosecution known as ‘representations’ calling for withdrawal of the charges, and following this up with case conferences to press for the proceedings to be discontinued.

A pro-active approach to defending these allegations will often save an enormous amount of time, stress and money. It can also avert the risks inherent in a hearing or trial and allow you to move forward with your life, conviction-free, and retain any seized or frozen assets.

If the case nevertheless proceeds to a hearing or trial, a relevantly experienced specialist defence lawyer will thoroughly prepare and effectively execute the defence strategy in court to maximise the prospects of success.

Here is an outline of some of the defences that apply to money laundering and proceeds of crime offences:

 

General Legal Defences to Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Charges

General legal defences have developed over generations and apply to all criminal offences unless they are expressly excluded by legislation.

Where a person raises evidence of a general legal defence, the prosecution must then prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defence does not apply.

If the prosecution is unable to do so, the person is entitled to a not guilty verdict.

General legal defences to money laundering and proceeds of crime charges include:

Duress 

Duress is the most frequently relied upon general legal defence to money laundering and proceeds of crime cases.

It where a person or someone close to them is threatened with serious and imminent harm if they refuse to engage in criminal conduct.

For the defence to apply, the threatened person must not reasonably be able to avoid the harm (for example, by going to police), he or she must believe the threat would be carried out and the conduct engaged in must not be disproportionate to the feared harm.

More information:

Claim of right 

Claim of right is a defence to property-related offences which involve the elements of larceny where a person genuinely believed at the time of the conduct that he or she was legally entitled to the whole of the property taken.

The person’s belief does not have to be a reasonable one, but a ‘colourable pretence’ will be insufficient.

The defence extends to offences which involve the taking of another’s property by way of trespass, threats and/or the use of force, including break and enter, robbery and armed with intent.

More information:

Mental Illness 

Those who were suffering from a mental health and/or cognitive impairment at the time of the alleged offence which resulted in being unaware of the nature and quality of their act, or in not knowing their act was wrong are not criminally responsible for their conduct.

This is colloquially known as the ‘mental illness defence’ and, if made out, means a person must be found not guilty.

However, it is important to be aware this does not mean the person will be released into the community, but will need to come under the provisions of the Mental Health Act which may involve involuntary detention in a mental health facility.

That said, there are also provisions which apply to money laundering and proceeds of crime cases that are dealt with in the Local Court that allow a person to avoid a criminal record and even a finding of guilt on the condition they enter into a ‘treatment plan’ which normally involves seeing a mental health professional on a regular basis. 

One of these provisions is known as a ‘section 14 application’ (previously section 32 applications) and is frequently used for cases dealt with in the Local Court.

More information:

Necessity 

The legal defence of duress applies where a person’s otherwise criminal conduct was to avoid serious consequences to the person or another he or she was bound to protect, the person honestly and reasonably believed the consequences would occur and the conduct was not disproportionate the consequences.

There need not be an actual threat and, while the defence is rarely used in modern money laundering and proceeds of crime case, it can apply in emergency situations where rash but understandable decisions are made.

A similar defence known as ‘sudden or extraordinary emergency’ is contained in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) and applies to offences under that Act.

This defence is where a person engaged in a crime because he or she reasonably believed that circumstances of sudden or extraordinary emergency existed, the conduct was the only reasonable way to deal with the emergency and was a reasonable response to it.

More information:

Defences and Exceptions Specific to Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Offences

In addition to general legal defence, there are specific defences and exceptions that apply to certain money laundering and proceeds of crime offences contained in both the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

On such defence is contained in section 193C of the Crimes Act 1900 and applies to all offences under that section. It provides that you are not guilty of an offence of dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime if the court is satisfied you had no reasonable grounds for suspecting the property in question was substantially derived or realised, directly or indirectly, from an act or omission constituting an offence under a Commonwealth, State, Territory or overseas law.

Another such defence is contained in the Criminal Code Act 1995 and provides that you are not guilty of an offence involving dealing in the proceeds of crime if you satisfy the court, on the balance of probabilities, that your actions were to assist in the enforcement of a Commonwealth, State or Territory law.

You are entitled to an acquittal in the event you are able to establish any such defence ‘on the balance of probabilities’; in other words, demonstrate that it is more likely than not to exist.

Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Offence Penalties

The maximum penalties that apply to money laundering and proceeds of crime offences depend on the type of offence that is charged, as well as whether the case is finalised in the Local Court – where the maximum penalty for any single offence is 2 years in prison – or a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court.

However, it is important to be aware the maximum penalty is reserved for the most serious cases, and a sentencing magistrate or judge will consider a wide range of factors in the event a person pleads guilty or is found guilty, before deciding upon the appropriate penalty.

The factors include the context and seriousness of the offending conduct, whether a plea of guilty was entered, criminal history or lack thereof, any evidence of remorse and the prospects of rehabilitation.

All of that said, the maximum penalties are listed in the tables below.

New South Wales Offences

Crimes Act 1900 (NSW)

Section of Act Name of offence Maximum penalty
193B(1) Knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime with intent to conceal 20 years
193B(2) Knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime 15 years
193B(3) Recklessly dealing with the proceeds of crime 10 years
193BA(1) Recklessly dealing with the proceeds of general crime with intent to conceal 15 years
193BA(3) Recklessly dealing with the proceeds of general crime 10 years
193C(1AA) Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime valued at $5,000,000 or more 8 years
193C(1AB) Aggravated dealing with property suspected of being the proceeds of crime valued at $5,000,000 or more 10 years
193C(1) Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime with a value of at least $100,000 but less than $5,000,000 5 years
193C(2) Dealing with property suspected of being proceeds of crime worth less than $100,000 3 years

Commonwealth Offences

Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

Section of Act Name of offence  Maximum penalty
400.3(1)  Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000,000 or more  25 years
400.3(2) Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000,000 or more  12 years
400.3(3) Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000,000 or more  5 years
400.4(1) Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more  20 years
400.4(2) Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more  10 years
400.4(3) Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more  4 years
400.5(1) Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $50,000 or more  15 years
400.5(2) Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $50,000 or more  7 years
400.5(3) Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $50,000 or more  3 years
400.6(1) Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $10,000 or more  10 years
400.6(2) Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $10,000 or more  5 years
400.6(3) Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $10,000 or more  2 years
400.7(1) Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000 or more 5 years
400.7(2) Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000 or more 2 years
400.7(3) Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – $1,000 or more 12 months
400.8(1) Intentionally dealing in proceeds of crime – any value 12 months
400.8(2) Recklessly dealing in proceeds of crime – any value 6 months
400.8(3) Negligently dealing in proceeds of crime – any value 10 penalty units
400.9(1) Dealing in property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime – $100,000 or more 3 years
400.9(1AB) Dealing in property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime – $1000,000 or more 4 years
400.9(1AA) Dealing in property reasonably suspected of being proceeds of crime – $10,000,000 or more 5 years

Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime offences FAQs

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to money laundering and proceeds of crime charges:

 

What are proceeds of crime?

For offences contained in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), proceeds of crime is defined as money or other property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by a person from the commission of a law against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or another country.

For offences contained in the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) proceeds of crime is defined as property that is wholly or partly derived or realised, directly or indirectly, by any person from the commission of an offence against the Commonwealth, a State or Territory, or a foreign country, that may be dealt with as an indictable offence – an indictable offence being one which may be referred to a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court, rather than finalised in the Local Court.

What is the maximum penalty for a money laundering or proceeds of crime case?

The maximum penalty for a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence depends on the specific offence that is charged as well as whether the case remains in the Local Court or is referred to a higher court, such as the District or Supreme Court.

If the case stays in the Local Court, the maximum penalty for any single money laundering or proceeds of crime offence is two years in prison.

If it is referred to a higher court, the maximum penalty is that which is prescribed by the legislation.

What are the defence options for money laundering and proceeds of crime charges?

Defence options for money laundering and proceeds of crime charges include putting the prosecution to proof, which means making the prosecution establish each of the essential elements (or ingredients) of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt, as well as defending the case on the basis that a general legal defence such as duress, mental health or claim of right – which the prosecution must disprove if raised. 

There are also specific defences and exceptions that apply to many money laundering and proceeds of crime charges, which require the defence to establish on the balance of probabilities that a state of affairs which excuses the otherwise unlawful conduct exists.

A person must be found not guilty if the prosecution is unable to prove every essential element of a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence, or if it is unable to disprove a general legal defence, or if a specific legal defence applies.

How long does a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence stay on record?

The general rule is that a conviction for a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence will remain on a person’s criminal record for 10 years, before it is capable of being ‘spent’ (deleted). 

However, certain convictions are not capable of being spent, including offences for which a person was sentenced to more than 6 months of full-time imprisonment.

Which courts deals with money laundering and proceeds of crime offences?

All money laundering and proceeds of crime charges brought against adults in New South Wales will commence in the Local Court.

Offences that carry a maximum penalty of 2 years or less are known as ‘summary offences’ and these will remain in the Local Court. 

Whether a money laundering or proceeds of crime offence with higher maximum penalties will later ‘committed’ (referred) to a higher court such as the District or Supreme Court depends on a range of factors, the most important of which is specific offence charged.

The decision as to whether a money laundering or proceeds of crime charge will be committed to a higher court will normally be made by the DPP.

The defence can also ‘elect’ (choose) to commit certain money laundering and proceeds of crime offences – although this is normally unwise because the maximum penalties are heavier in the higher courts, and it can be more difficult to successfully appeal an unfavourable decision.

The most serious money laundering and proceeds of crime offences are ‘strictly indictable’ which means they must be committed to a higher court.  

Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.

Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:

  1. Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results

    Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.

    Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.

    Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.

    We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.

    Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.

  2. Highest Level of Client Satisfaction

    We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.

    Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.

    We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.

    We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.

  3. Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm

    We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.

    The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.

  4. Fixed Fees

    We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.

    We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.

    Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.

  5. Free First Appointment

    For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.

    We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.

  6. Specialist Lawyer Guarantee

    We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.

    This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.

  7. All NSW Courts

    From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.

    And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.

  8. Accredited Specialists

    Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.

    All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.

    An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.

    Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.

    Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.

  9. Results-Focused Law Firm

    Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.

    The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.

    Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.

    No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.

    The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.

  10. Team of Lawyers Behind You

    Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.

    Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.

    A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.

    In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.

  11. Familiar with Magistrates and Judges

    Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.

    Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.

  12. Convenience

    We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:

    We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.

    For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.

    If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at info@sydneycriminallawyers.com.au.

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