N.J.S. 2C:21-23Legislative findings and declaration
The Legislature hereby finds and declares to be the public policy of this State, the following:
a. By enactment of the “Criminal Justice Act of 1970,” P.L.1970, c. 74 (C. 52:17B-97 et seq.), the legislature recognized that the existence of organized crime and organized crime type activities present a serious threat to the political, social and economic institutions of this State.
b. By enactment of P.L.1981, c. 167 (C. 2C:41-1 et al.), the Legislature recognized the need to impose strict civil and criminal sanctions upon those whose activity is inimical to the general health, welfare and prosperity of this State, including, but not limited to, those who drain money from the economy by illegal conduct and then undertake the operation of otherwise legitimate businesses with the proceeds of illegal conduct.
c. By enactment of the “Comprehensive Drug Reform Act of 1987,” P.L.1987, c. 106 (C. 2C:35-1 et seq.), the Legislature recognized the need to punish the more culpable drug offenders with strict, consistently imposed criminal sanctions. The Legislature intended a greater culpability for those who profit from the illegal trafficking of drugs and expressed an intent that such individuals be dealt with swiftly and sternly.
d. Despite the impressive efforts and gains of our law enforcement agencies, individuals still profit financially from illegal organized criminal activities and illegal trafficking of drugs, and they continue to pose a serious and pervasive threat to the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of this State while, at the same time, converting their illegally obtained profits into “legitimate” funds with the assistance of other individuals.
e. The increased trafficking in drugs and other organized criminal activities have strengthened the money laundering industry which takes illegally acquired income and makes that money appear to be legitimate. In order to safeguard the public interest and stop the conversion of ill-gotten criminal profits, effective criminal and civil sanctions are needed to deter and punish those who are converting the illegal profits, those who are providing a method of hiding the true source of the funds, and those who facilitate such activities. It is in the public interest to make such conduct subject to strict criminal and civil penalties because of a need to deter individuals and business entities from assisting in the “legitimizing” of proceeds of illegal activity. To allow individuals or business entities to avoid responsibility for their criminal assistance in money laundering is clearly inimical to the public good.
As used in this act:
“Attorney General” includes the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey and the Attorney General's assistants and deputies. The term also shall include a county prosecutor or the county prosecutor's designated assistant prosecutor if a county prosecutor is expressly authorized in writing by the Attorney General pursuant to this act.
“Derived from” means obtained directly or indirectly from, maintained by or realized through.
“Person” means any corporation, unincorporated association or any other entity or enterprise, as defined in subsection q. of N.J.S. 2C:20-1, which is capable of holding a legal or beneficial interest in property.
“Property” means anything of value, as defined in subsection g. of N.J.S. 2C:20-1, and includes any benefit or interest without reduction for expenses incurred for acquisition, maintenance or any other purpose.
N.J.S. 2C:21-25Money laundering and illegal investment; crime
A person is guilty of a crime if the person:
a. transports or possesses property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity; or
b. engages in a transaction involving property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity
(1) with the intent to facilitate or promote the criminal activity; or
(2) knowing that the transaction is designed in whole or in part:
(a) to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership or control of the property derived from criminal activity; or
(b) to avoid a transaction reporting requirement under the laws of this State or any other state or of the United States; or
c. directs, organizes, finances, plans, manages, supervises, or controls the transportation of or transactions in property known or which a reasonable person would believe to be derived from criminal activity.
d. For the purposes of this act, property is known to be derived from criminal activity if the person knows that the property involved represents proceeds from some form, though not necessarily which form, of criminal activity. Among the factors that the finder of fact may consider in determining that a transaction has been designed to avoid a transaction reporting requirement shall be whether the person, acting alone or with others, conducted one or more transactions in currency, in any amount, at one or more financial institutions, on one or more days, in any manner. The phrase “in any manner” includes the breaking down of a single sum of currency exceeding the transaction reporting requirement into smaller sums, including sums at or below the transaction reporting requirement, or the conduct of a transaction, or series of currency transactions, including transactions at or below the transaction reporting requirement. The transaction or transactions need not exceed the transaction reporting threshold at any single financial institution on any single day in order to demonstrate a violation of subparagraph (b) of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of this section.
e. A person is guilty of a crime if, with the purpose to evade a transaction reporting requirement of this State or of 31 U.S.C. § 5311 et seq. or 31 C.F.R. § 103 et seq., or any rules or regulations adopted under those chapters and sections, he:
(1) causes or attempts to cause a financial institution, including a foreign or domestic money transmitter or an authorized delegate thereof, casino, check casher, person engaged in a trade or business or any other individual or entity required by State or federal law to file a report regarding currency transactions or suspicious transactions to fail to file a report; or
(2) causes or attempts to cause a financial institution, including a foreign or domestic money transmitter or an authorized delegate thereof, casino, check casher, person engaged in a trade or business or any other individual or entity required by State or federal law to file a report regarding currency transactions or suspicious transactions to file a report that contains a material omission or misstatement of fact; or
(3) structures or assists in structuring, or attempts to structure or assist in structuring any transaction with one or more financial institutions, including foreign or domestic money transmitters or an authorized delegate thereof, casinos, check cashers, persons engaged in a trade or business or any other individuals or entities required by State or federal law to file a report regarding currency transactions or suspicious transactions. “Structure” or “structuring” means that a person, acting alone, or in conjunction with, or on behalf of, other persons, conducts or attempts to conduct one or more transactions in currency, in any amount, at one or more financial institutions, on one or more days, in any manner, for the purpose of evading currency transaction reporting requirements provided by State or federal law. “In any manner” includes, but is not limited to, the breaking down into smaller sums of a single sum of currency meeting or exceeding that which is necessary to trigger a currency reporting requirement or the conduct of a transaction, or series of currency transactions, at or below the reporting requirement. The transaction or transactions need not exceed the reporting threshold at any single financial institution on any single day in order to meet the definition of “structure” or “structuring” provided in this paragraph.
N.J.S. 2C:21-26Knowledge of criminal activity
For the purposes of section 3 of this act,1 the requisite knowledge may be inferred where the property is transported or possessed in a fashion inconsistent with the ordinary or usual means of transportation or possession of such property and where the property is discovered in the absence of any documentation or other indicia of legitimate origin or right to such property.
N.J.S. 2C:21-27Degrees of offense; penalties; nonmerger
a. The offense defined in subsections a. b. and c. of section 3 of P.L. 1994, c. 121 (C.2C:21-25) constitutes a crime of the first degree if the amount involved is $500,000.00 or more. If the amount involved is at least $75,000.00 but less than $500,000.00 the offense constitutes a crime of the second degree; otherwise, the offense constitutes a crime of the third degree. The offense defined in subsection e. of section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 121 (C.2C:21-25) constitutes a crime of the third degree. Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the court may also impose a fine up to $500,000.00. The amount involved in a prosecution for violation of this section shall be determined by the trier of fact. Amounts involved in transactions conducted pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct may be aggregated in determining the degree of the offense. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:43-6, a person convicted of a crime of the first degree pursuant to the provisions of this subsection shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment that shall include the imposition of a minimum term which shall be fixed at, or between, one-third and one-half of the sentence imposed, during which time the defendant shall not be eligible for parole.
b. In addition to any other dispositions authorized by this Title, upon conviction of a violation of this section, the court may sentence the defendant to pay an amount as calculated pursuant to subsection a. of section 6 of P.L.1994, c. 121 (C.2C:21-28).
c. Notwithstanding N.J.S.2C:1-8 or any other provision of law, a conviction of an offense defined in this section shall not merge with the conviction of any other offense constituting the criminal activity involved or from which the property was derived, and a conviction of any offense constituting the criminal activity involved or from which the property was derived shall not merge with a conviction of an offense defined in section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 121 (C.2C:21-25), and the sentence imposed upon a conviction of any offense defined in section 3 of P.L.1994, c. 121 (C.2C:21-25) shall be ordered to be served consecutively to that imposed for a conviction of any offense constituting the criminal activity involved or from which the property was derived. Nothing in P.L.1994, c. 121 (C.2C:21-23 et seq.) shall be construed in any way to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this Title or any other criminal law of this State.