DPP Business Tax

What Is The Penalty For Tipping Off Money Laundering?

If you are concerned that you may soon be investigated for offences related to money laundering – for example, tipping off money laundering, which includes informing somebody that they are being investigated – or you know of someone else who has these concerns, you’re likely trying to work out what to do next.

First of all, it is, of course, vital that you seek out the best legal representation possible to ensure that you are well protected before the investigation proceeds any further.

Here’s a little more information you may require to help you understand what you’re up against, and how to fight it in the most effective way.

What Is Money Laundering?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines money laundering as “the crime of moving money that has been obtained illegally through banks and other businesses to make it seem as if the money has been obtained legally”.

Money Laundering Penalties And The Maximum Penalty For Assisting A Money Launderer

Any money laundering sentence – whether it be passed down to the perpetrator of the crime itself or to any individuals assisting said perpetrator – can consist of up to 14 years’ jail time, depending on the severity of the crime and the circumstances under which it was committed.

You can reduce the likelihood of receiving a harsh sentence by informing the police of any suspicious activity that you may know of regarding finances, as failure to report money laundering will be considered aiding and abetting serious criminal activity.

If this considerable jail sentence is not passed down, sizeable money laundering fines may be put in place alongside a shorter custodial sentence or a community order. Again, this depends on the nature of the offence.

What Defines Tipping Off A Money Launderer?

The Proceeds of Crime Act: Section 33A defines tipping off as:

1) A person commits an offence if –
a) the person discloses any matter within subsection (2);
b) the disclosure is likely to prejudice any investigation that might be conducted following the disclosure referred to in that subsection; and
c) the information on which the disclosure is based came to the person in the course of a business in the regulated sector.

2) The matters are that the person or another person has made a disclosure under this Part –
a) to a constable,
b) to an officer of Revenue and Customs,
c) to a nominated officer, or
d) to a member of staff of the National Crime Agency authorised for the purposes of this Part by the Director-General of that Agency,
of information that came to that person in the course of a business in the regulated sector.

3) A person commits an offence if –
a) the person discloses that an investigation into allegations that an offence under this Part has been committed is being contemplated or is being carried out;
b) the disclosure is likely to prejudice that investigation; and
c) the information on which the disclosure is based came to the person in the course of a business in the regulated sector.

What Is The Penalty For Tipping Off A Money Launderer?

The maximum penalty for tipping off off a money launderer is an unlimited fine and up to five years in prison.

Proceeds Of Crime Act 2002

Under the statutes of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, money laundering itself is only one of a number of criminal offences in this field. As mentioned, failure to report money laundering, knowingly handling or hiding the proceeds of crime (which refers to illegally obtained banknotes or coins of any currency, all cheques, bank drafts or amounts held in bank accounts), being unable to clearly prove that the source of the income in query was legal when questioned, or being involved in any other activity that was knowingly undertaken in relation to money laundering, could make the perpetrator liable for the same weight and length of sentence.

Also known as the POCA 2002, this set of legislative orders also allows any “ill-gotten gains” to be recovered by law if it can be proved that means used to obtain them were unlawful.

I’ve Been Accused Of Assisting Or Tipping Off Money Laundering – What Do I Do?

The best first step to take is to begin noting down or recording anything that may constitute proof that you are not guilty of this offence. Recorded phone calls, text messages and emails can all constitute valuable evidence. At the same time, look into trusted criminal lawyers or solicitors who specialise in financial crime and fraud. They will help you put together the defence you need to clear your name.

For further information and assistance regarding money laundering, get in touch with our team of experts via our handy online contact form. We will assist you in any way we can.

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