Money Laundering In Florida: Beyond The Stereotypes
We all know the stereotypes about money laundering. Maybe you have eaten dinner in a restaurant that has been open for years in a part of town where the rent must be sky high and wondered how it can possibly stay open unless it is a front for an illegal business. Perhaps, after binge-watching Ozark, you have started to speculate about which of the strip clubs in South Florida are funded by drug money and other illegal operations. If you get suspicious when someone buys a mansion in cash, so do the authorities. But those are just the most photogenic examples of money laundering; the white lies you tell your accounting books might fit the definition of money laundering, too. To find out more, contact a Tampa white collar crime lawyer.
The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986
The Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 defined money laundering as a federal crime. It defined the crime broadly, so that it includes any financial transaction involving funds that derive from any “specified unlawful activities” in order to disguise the source of the funds. The financial transactions could take many different forms, including depositing the money in a business bank account, investing it in a certificate of deposit (CD), making a wire transfer, or buying assets and titling them in someone else’s name. This law also makes it a federal crime to spend $10,000 or more of illegally obtained money, even if you make no effort to conceal the fact that you got the money through illegal means. In other words, if you rob a convenience store and then go straight to the car dealership and buy a car, you could get money laundering charges for buying the car in addition to the robbery charges for robbing the store.
Penalties for Money Laundering in Florida
According to Florida law, the penalties for money laundering vary according to the amount of money involved in the transaction. If you launder between $300 in $20,000 in the space of one year (it can be one or more transactions), then money laundering is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. If the amount is more than $20,000 but less than or equal to $100,000, then it is a second-degree felony, and the maximum penalty is a 15-year prison sentence. If the amount of funds laundered exceeds $100,000, then money laundering is a first-degree felony, and the maximum sentence is 30 years. In addition to prison time, the court could order you to pay a fine of up to five times the amount of the funds laundered.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
Financial laws are complicated, and recent efforts at preventing money laundering are only making them more complicated. A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for money laundering just for spending your own money or operating a business. Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.