The Florida Money Laundering Act
Money laundering is strictly prohibited in Florida under the Florida Money Laundering Act, which makes this type of conduct a serious offense, punishable by jail time and fines. Fortunately, there are defenses available to those who have been charged with this crime, so if you have been accused of money laundering, please contact an experienced white collar crime lawyer who can help defend your interests.
Under the Florida Money Laundering Act, residents are prohibited from conducting or attempting to conduct financial transactions, or to transport or attempt to transport funds, knowing that the property involved was obtained unlawfully. For the purposes of this law, the term “conduct” includes initiating, participating, or concluding a transaction, as long as it involves the movement of funds or transfer of title. However, before a person can be convicted of this offense, the prosecutor must demonstrate that the defendant intended to promote unlawful activity or knew that the traction was designed to:
- Conceal or disguise the nature, source, or ownership of the proceeds of an unlawful activity; or
- Avoid a transaction reporting or money transmitters’ registration requirement.
This law also specifically applies in situations where the property in question is represented by a law enforcement officer as being used in unlawful activity. This includes any officer of Florida, of another state, or of the United States who is empowered by law to conduct investigations or to make arrests for white collar crimes.
Defenses and Penalties
Although there are a number of defenses available to those who have been accused of money laundering, including entrapment, Florida law specifically prohibits defendants from arguing that:
- A law enforcement officer solicited someone who was predisposed to engage in money laundering to commit the crime in order to gain evidence against him or her;
- An undercover operative or law enforcement officer deceived the defendant; or
- The opportunity or facility used to engage in the conduct was provided to the defendant.
Formulating a strong defense and avoiding prohibited defenses is critical in these types of cases, as those who are convicted face severe penalties, which vary depending on the value of the funds involved. For instance, those whose transactions exceed $300, but are less than $20,000 can be charged with a third degree felony, which could mean up to five years in prison. Financial transactions of between $20,000 and $100,000, on the other hand, may lead to up to 15 years in prison for each count, while unlawful transactions exceeding $100,000 in a single one year period are considered first degree felonies, and as such are punishable by up to 30 years imprisonment. Furthermore, each transaction of over $10,000 is considered a separate offense, so a defendant could end up being sentenced to decades in prison for a single encounter. Finally, defendants who are found or plead guilty to these charges may be required to pay an additional fee of $250,000 or twice the value of the transaction, whichever is greater.
Speak with a White Collar Crime Attorney Today
Please call 305-670-9919 to speak with dedicated white collar crime attorney Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A. about your money laundering charges. Our passionate Miami legal team is eager to assist you today.