Money laundering is defined as making money that was made by illegal activities appear clean as in, legal. An example of money laundering is smurfing. Smurfing is when the money is put into an account by the use of small deposits every time until all of the money is in the account. This method is used because it does not raise suspicion around it as large one-time deposits do. Another example is when a drug dealer invests his illegal money in a legal business. The code of Virginia law states the following:
- A financial transaction where the money involved is knowingly from an illegal activity that is classified as a felony is unlawful.
- Converting money that came from illegal activities that are classed as felonies into checks, bank notes, etc. is unlawful.
The punishment for money laundering is different from other felony punishments as money laundering punishments are harsher. The punishment for an unlawful financial transaction where the money used in the transaction was made from activities that are described as felonies is either imprisonment for a period that does not exceed 40 years and a fine that may go up to but not exceed $500,000. This is different than other felony punishments as felony imprisonment punishments range from one to 20 years and the fines involved do not usually pass $100,000. The punishment for converting money obtained from illegal activities that are recognized as felonies into checks, notes, or other is a fine that doesn’t pass $2500 and/or a period of jail time that may not exceed one year. This means that the unlawful converting of money into checks, notes, or other, is classified as a class A or class one misdemeanor. If a second attempt to illegally convert money into checks, electronic notes, or more, then the punishment will be more severe as it will be classified as a class six felony. In this case, the punishment is imprisonment from one to five years.
There are some crimes that are covered up by the use of money laundering. These include health care fraud, mortgage fraud, etc. The businesses that use money laundering are businesses that have huge cash inflows. Money laundering happens due to the failure of the government to know what the citizens are doing and what illegal activities are occurring throughout the state of Virginia.
Money laundering laws in Virginia are different than other laws. Money laundering laws specify certain punishments to a type of money laundering and not recognize them as one of the felonies or misdemeanor classes. Although one type of money laundering is specified which is financial transactions, the other type is recognized as a class one or class A misdemeanor crime. This misdemeanor money laundering is when illegal money is converted to checks, notes, etc. the punishment for the specified money laundering is a fine that may go up to $500,000 and /or a period in prison that may reach but not pass 40 years. The misdemeanor money laundering punishment is a fine that may reach $2500 and/or one year or less in jail.