Florida Statutes Section 896.101 is called the "Florida Money Laundering Act." This statute makes money laundering a crime on a state level.
Under this statute, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly funnel or otherwise hide the proceeds of criminal activity.
This crime is charged at both the state and federal level. This entry will deal only with the state-level offense.
Money laundering can be charged on its own but is often charged in addition to drug trafficking charges, theft charges, or organized scheme to defraud charges.
This is because money laundering involves the funneling of illicit funds for purposes of avoiding detection. Because of this, police and prosecutors will often look for the underlying crimes. In other words, the criminal activity that is creating the illicit funds (i.e., drug trafficking or organized theft).
Money laundering is a felony. The severity of the felony depends on the amount of money allegedly laundered.
Financial transactions exceeding $300 but less than $20,000 in any 12-month period is a felony of the third degree, punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison.
Financial transactions totaling or exceeding $20,000 but less than $100,000 in any 12-month period is a felony of the second degree, punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Financial transactions totaling or exceeding $100,000 in any 12-month period is a felony of the first degree, punishable by a maximum of 30 years in prison.
Money laundering does not have to be sophisticated. You do not need to hide tens of thousands of dollars in offshore accounts. Let's say that you are involved in a drug transaction and you pay a friend $300 to drive you to the location of the sale. If you pay the friend with money you earned through the sale of drugs, police can charge you with money laundering because by giving the money to your friend, you were funneling the proceeds of criminal activity.
Money laundering is a serious charge which is often accompanied by other serious charges. Contact a South Florida criminal defense attorney to discuss your case should you find yourself charged with or under investigation for money laundering.
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