Money laundering

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s.327, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s.328, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, s.329
Effective from: 1 October 2014

Concealing/disguising/converting/transferring/removing criminal property from England & Wales

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (section 327)

Entering into arrangements concerning criminal property

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (section 328)

Acquisition, use and possession of criminal property

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (section 329)

Triable either way

Maximum: 14 years’ custody

Offence range: Band B fine – 13 years’ imprisonment

User guide for this offence


Step 1- Determining the offence category

The court should determine the offence category with reference to the tables below. In order to determine the category the court should assess culpability and harm. The level of culpability is determined by weighing up all the factors of the case to determine the offender’s role and the extent to which the offending was planned and the sophistication with which it was carried out.

Culpability demonstrated by one or more of the following:

A – High culpability

  • A leading role where offending is part of a group activity
  • Involvement of others through pressure, influence
  • Abuse of position of power or trust or responsibility
  • Sophisticated nature of offence/significant planning
  • Criminal activity conducted over sustained period of time

B – Medium culpability

  • Other cases where characteristics for categories A or C are not present
  • A significant role where offending is part of a group activity

C – Lesser culpability

  • Performed limited function under direction
  • Involved through coercion, intimidation or exploitation
  • Not motivated by personal gain
  • Opportunistic ‘one-off’ offence; very little or no planning
  • Limited awareness or understanding of extent of criminal activity

Where there are characteristics present which fall under different levels of culpability, the court should balance these characteristics to reach a fair assessment of the offender’s culpability.

Harm A – Harm is initially assessed by the value of the money laundered
Category 1 £10 million or more Starting point based on £30 million
Category 2 £2 million–£10 million Starting point based on £5 million
Category 3 £500,000–£2 million Starting point based on £1 million
Category 4 £100,000–£500,000 Starting point based on £300,000
Category 5 £10,000–£100,000 Starting point based on £50,000
Category 6 Less than £10,000 Starting point based on £5,000

Harm B Money laundering is an integral component of much serious criminality. To complete the assessment of harm, the court should take into account the level of harm associated with the underlying offence to determine whether it warrants upward adjustment of the starting point within the range, or in appropriate cases, outside the range. Where it is possible to identify the underlying offence, regard should be given to the relevant sentencing levels for that offence.