What is money laundering in Virginia?
A. It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to conduct a financial transaction where the person knows the property involved in the transaction represents the proceeds of an activity which is punishable as a felony under the laws of the Commonwealth, another state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the United States. A violation of this section is punishable by imprisonment of not more than forty years or a fine of not more than $500,000 or by both imprisonment and a fine.
B. Any person who, for compensation, converts cash into negotiable instruments or electronic funds for another, knowing the cash is the proceeds of some form of activity which is punishable as a felony under the laws of the Commonwealth, another state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the United States, shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be punishable as a Class 6 felonyVa. Code § 18.2-246.3
There are two types of “money laundering” in Virginia
Subsection A of the statute, requires that the prosecutor be able to prove that the defendant conducted a financial transaction. The statute also mentions property and in this context it should be understood as anything that has value. An example of conduct that would be forbidden under this statute would be a financial transaction done by a person who has knowingly concealed or disguised parts of the aspect of the transaction such as control, ownership, nature of property, and/or source of property.
It is also illegal to conduct a financial transaction with knowledge that the property is proceeds of felonious activity.
Subsection B prohibits a person from receiving compensation for the conversion of cash into a negotiable instrument or electronic fund, with knowledge that the cash is proceeds of a felony or felonious activity.
How is money laundering punished in Virginia?
A violation of subsection A can be punished with imprisonment of not more than 40 years, and/or a monetary fine of $500,000.00.
A violation of subsection B is a Class 1 misdemeanor and can be punished with up to one year in prison as well as a $2,500 fine. Subsequent offenses under the same statute can be punished as a Class 6 Felony.
Should you get an attorney?
As you can see from the statute, there are fine details that are important to a charge of money laundering. There is a wide swing between punishment between the two subsections under the same statute. Speak to an attorney today who can assess the facts of your case and discuss all possible defenses.