Overview Of Money Laundering Laws & Penalties In Virginia
Money laundering is a white-collar crime under Virginia law. This offense involves property or cash obtained from criminal activities that is “laundered” or “washed” into seemingly legal instruments. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, money laundered can result in misdemeanor or felony charges in Virginia.
Money Laundering Definitions
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-246.2 furnishes several important definitions in the context of money laundering offenses, including “financial transaction,” “monetary instruments,” “proceeds,” and “property.”
The term “financial transaction” refers to any:
- Transfer between accounts;
- Exchange of currency;
- Extension of credit;
- Purchase or sale of monetary instruments;
- Use of a safe-deposit box; or
- Other acquisition or disposition of monetary instruments by any means.
The term “monetary instruments” refers to any:
- Coin or currency of the United States or of any other country;
- Travelers’ check;
- Personal check;
- Bank check;
- Cashier’s check;
- Credit card;
- Debit card;
- Money order; or
- Security or other negotiable instrument.
The term “proceeds” refers to any property acquired or derived from, produced through, realized through, or caused by an act or omission. The term proceeds can include real and personal property of any kind.
The term “property” refers to things of value and any corresponding interest. The term property can include benefits, privileges, claims, or rights with respect to things of value, whether real, personal, tangible, or intangible.
Money Laundering Crimes & Penalties
Code of Virginia Section 18.2-246.3 establishes two separate crimes related to money laundering. The first version of money laundering under Section 18.2-246.3 requires a person to:
- Conduct a financial transaction; and
- Know or have a reason to know that the property involved in the transaction represents the proceeds of an illegal activity punishable as a felony in Virginia or elsewhere in the United States.
Any person who commits the offense above is guilty of a felony under Section 18.2-246.3. Upon conviction for this felony, the maximum penalties can include imprisonment for 40 years and criminal fines up to $500,000.
The second version of money laundering under Section 18.2-246.3 requires a person to:
- Converts cash into negotiable instruments or electronic funds in exchange for compensation; and
- Know or have a reason to know that the cash involved in the transaction represents the proceeds of an illegal activity punishable as a felony in Virginia or elsewhere in the United States.
Any person who commits the offense above will be charged and punished as detailed below:
- First Offense — Class 1 misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 12 months in jail and $2,500 in criminal fines; or
- Second or Subsequent Offense — Class 6 felony with maximum penalties of imprisonment for five years and criminal fines up to $2,500.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about money laundering or other crimes in Virginia, it can be hugely beneficial to contact an accomplished Leesburg criminal defense lawyer. The lawyers at Simms Showers LLP possess widespread knowledge and skill in the field of criminal defense, including money laundering and other offenses. If you need legal help with criminal defense, contact us today for a free initial consultation.