California Health and Safety Code Section 11370.9 HSC: Money Laundering In Connection With Drug Sales

1. Definition and Elements of the Crimemoney laundering

When dealing with the proceeds of criminal activity, one often tries to conceal the illegal source or origin of these funds. This action, also known as money laundering, is a serious criminal offense under California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC. However, when the underlying illegal activity is the sale of a controlled substance, the defendant can prosecuted for money laundering pursuant to California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.9 HSC.

Laundering the proceeds of drug sales under California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.9 HSC is similar to money laundering under California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC with the following key differences:

  1. The money has to be related to a drug crime

  2. Unlike money laundering under California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC, the money in question does not need to pass through a bank or other financial institution. One can be charged with money laundering of drug proceeds even where the money was never converted from cash.

  3. The money laundering transaction must have been committed with the intention to conceal the illegal source of the money. Thus, unlike California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC, buying high ticket items would not, by itself, be enough to prove money laundering.

  4. The total amount of money laundered must be over $25,000 within a 30 day period.
2. Related Offenses

Other similar or related offenses include:

  1. Money LaunderingCalifornia Penal Code Section 186.10 PC
  2. Possession for Sale of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11351 HSC
  3. Sale or Transportation of a Controlled Substance - California Health & Safety Code Section 11352 HSC
3. Examples

A drug dealer is bringing in large amounts of cash selling drugs but wants to conceal the illegal origins of these funds. The man opens up a convenience store and uses this store’s books to disguise the illegal origins of his drug proceeds. The man could be charged with money laundering in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.9 HSC. In another example, a drug dealer brings in large sums of cash as part of his operation. He uses the cash to buy high ticket items such as boats and cars. He is doing this because he wants these items, and not to conceal the illegal origins of his money. The man would not be criminally liable under California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.9 HSC because unlike money laundering under California Penal Code Section 186.10 PC, a defendant could use the proceeds to buy certain items without violating the statute.

4. Defenses to Money Laundering in Connection with Drug Sales

If the defendant did not have knowledge of the illicit source of the money in question, he or she would not be criminally liable for money laundering. In addition, if the amount laundered was less than $25,000 the defendant would not be guilty under the statute.

5. Penalties

Money laundering in connection with drug sales is considered a “wobbler” offense that can be filed as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If filed as a felony and ultimately convicted, the maximum penalty one could receive is three years in prison. If charged and convicted of the misdemeanor offense, the maximum penalty is a year in jail.

6. Criminal Defense for Money Laundering in Connection with Drug Sales Cases

Money laundering in violation of California Health & Safety Code Section 11370.9 HSC is a serious criminal offense that could result in a felony conviction on a person’s record and a lengthy jail or prison sentence. If you or a loved one are facing charges for this offense, it is absolutely critical that you consult with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer to discuss your case as soon as possible. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut is a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience who was formerly assigned to prosecute white collar crimes as part of the elite Major Fraud Division of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Kraut knows how best to defend these types of charges and works tirelessly to ensure the best results possible for his clients.

For more information about money laundering in connection with drug sales, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

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