California Penal Code 186.10 PC Money Laundering

What are the factors or elements of 186.10 Money Laundering?

Under section 186.10 of the California Penal Code, the prosecutor must prove the following facts or elements:

  • The defendant made or attempted to make one or more transactions
  • Involving at least one monetary instrument
  • Via at least one financial institution, and
  • Having the specific intent to promote a crime (the specific language is, “promote, manage, establish, carry on, or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on of any criminal activity,” but you get the idea.)

The following element applies when only one transaction are at issue: The financial transaction involved a monetary instrument(s) with a total value of more than $5,000;

Transactions that qualify for a charge of money laundering:

  1.  $5,000 + The defendant conducted or attempted to conduct the financial transactions within a seven-day period and the monetary instrument(s) involved had a total value of more than $5,000 or
  2. $25,000 plus within a 30 day period.

Example: Donald robs a bank, committing the crime of grand theft, and walks away with $1,000,000 in cash. He then uses said cash to solicit and pay for the services of a prostitute in cash.

Donald did not launder that money under 186.10 PC because he never made a transaction through a bank.

It should be noted that each 7-day period or 30-day period of transactions can be charged as a separate offense. Money laundering cases can be very complex and you need the right attorney to help you through this.

Legal Consequences:

186.10 PC Money laundering is what is known as wobbler under California law.

This means that prosecutors may choose to charge this violation as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on your specific circumstances, i.e. criminal history and facts of the case.

The following are potential penalties when 186.10 PC is charged as a misdemeanor:

  • A fine up to one thousand dollars ($1,000) and/or;
  • Up to one (1) year in county jail.

*Note: If this is not your first conviction for money laundering, the maximum felony fines increases up to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) or five (5) times the amount laundered, whichever is greater).

The maximum prison sentence for money laundering increases with the amount of money laundered.

The following are potential penalties when 186.10 PC is charged as a felony:

fine up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($500,000) or

  • five timesthe amount of money laundered, whichever is greater: and/or
  • A sentence of sixteen (16) months; two (2) years, or three (3) years, in county jail in prison.

How can we defend you against charges of California Penal Code 186.10 PC Money Laundering?

The following are the most common defenses to money laundering, though not the only available ones:

  • Lack of knowledge: Client meets someone at a party who promises to give them 10% of all proceeds from a fast food restaurant as long as they use their own bank account for all proceeds. This is classic money laundering, but ot everyone thinks in a criminal way  and lack of knowledge would be a defense here.
  • nsufficient money from criminal activities: The money you laundered from unlawful activity did not exceed the minimum amounts required by the statute,
    • Example: Ted runs both an illegal prostitution business and a legal food establishment (restaurant). He deposits the profits from both businesses into the same bank account. He is arrested for money laundering based on a $8,000 rent check he writes from that account. The prosecutor must prove that at least $5,000 of those funds came from the prostitution business in order to charge him.
  • Lack of intent: You did not specifically intend to support or promote illegal activity, and/or you did not know you were handling money that came from illegal activity.

Contact Us: We have been successfully defending clients facing all types of criminal charges in Sonoma and Marin Counties, since 1992.

The 100 Trial Lawyers Association has recognized us as one of the best criminal defense attorneys in the country!

Please call our office today at (707) 571-8600 in our centrally located Santa Rosa office in Sonoma County or call our office in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507 to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.

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