What Is The Florida Money Laundering Act?
The Florida Money Laundering Act is a state law that went into effect back in 2015. The law penalizes those who engage in money laundering, which is the process of engaging in financial transactions used to intentionally conceal, hide, or process money that was generated through criminal activity.
In layman’s terms, it’s the process of converting the money earned from illegal activities into “clean cash.” It’s commonly done by using that illegal money to buy things (gold, food, liquor, etc.,) and then selling those same things to earn (with the intent to conceal) said clean cash.
Understanding the law, its repercussions and your legal rights can help you figure out the necessary steps to take if you find yourself wrapped up in money laundering.
Types of Money Laundering
When you hear the term money laundering, you probably associate it with the Pablo Escobars of the world. But, in fact, it’s gone beyond just drug-related crimes. Now, money laundering can occur through business fraud, mortgage fraud, real estate fraud, and even investments. Money laundering can even occur through legitimate businesses that operate as “front companies”. These include cash-check stores, strip clubs, and even car washes.
The main thing that differentiates money laundering from simply making money through illegal activities is that you are intentionally trying to hide that money from the government.
If you are running an illegal business, for example, but are not hiding the money you’re making from it from the government, then you can’t be charged with money laundering. Simply put: you can be charged for whatever the illegal activity is, but cannot be charged with money laundering.
Penalties and Sentencing
Penalties and subsequent sentencing for money laundering vary depending on the amount of money involved. Florida’s money laundering laws execute the following penalties for money laundering:
- A third-degree felony if the transaction values total between $300 and $20,000 within a twelve-month period. Jail time is up to five years in a state prison.
- A second-degree felony if the transaction values total between $20,001 and $100,000 within a twelve-month period. Jail time is up to fifteen years in a state prison.
- A first-degree felony if the transaction values exceed $100,001 within a twelve-month period. Jail time is up to thirty years in a state prison.
In addition to jail time, there could be fines that vary based on previous convictions as well as possible probation. As proven by the introduction of the Florida Money Laundering Act, both the state and federal government are really cracking down on and prosecuting individuals involved in money laundering.
Legal Steps To Take
Money laundering is a serious crime, and it’s crucial that you contact an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as you find yourself being investigated for, or are currently involved in, a money laundering case. The attorneys at Broward Criminal Lawyer understand the Florida Money Laundering Act inside and out, and through our out-of-the-box defense strategies, we can help you get the best outcome in your case. Contact us today at 954-462-1005 for a free consultation.