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How Is Money Laundering Defined Under Florida Law?


There are federal and state criminal laws in place that prohibit money laundering. Under the Florida Money Laundering Act (Florida Statutes § 896.101), money laundering can be charged as a felony offense that carries severe criminal penalties. In this article, our Orlando money laundering defense attorney provides a more detailed explanation of the key things that you need to know about money laundering charges in Florida.

Money Laundering: Defined 

As described by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), money laundering is broadly defined as the “disguising of financial assets so they can be used without detection of the illegal activity that produced them.” Florida has a similar legal definition. Under state law, there are specific elements that prosecutors must prove to obtain a money laundering conviction in Florida. Beyond proving that financial assets obtained through illegal actions were “disguised” in some manner, a Florida prosecutor must also prove that the defendant:

  1. Had knowledge that they were disguising the proceeds of illegal activity; and
  2. Had the intent to keep the true source of the proceeds hidden from authorities. 

An Overview of the Criminal Penalties for Money Laundering in Florida 

Money laundering is a very serious criminal offense. It carries felony criminal penalties in Florida. The severity of a money laundering charge in Florida varies on a number of factors. The most important being the amount of the alleged criminal infraction. Here is a more detailed overview of the potential penalties for money laundering in Florida:

  • Money Laundering Between $300 and $20,000 in a 12 Month Period: A third degree felony charge carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison
  • Money Laundering Between $20,000 and $100,000 in a 12 Month Period: A second degree felony charge carrying a maximum penalty of fifteen years in prison.
  • Money Laundering Between In Excess of $100,000 in a 12 Month Period: A first degree felony carrying a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. 

Defending a Money Laundering Allegation in Florida 

White collar criminal cases are notoriously complicated. As with other allegations of financial crimes, a money laundering criminal charge must be defended on a case-by-case basis, with attention to the specific facts and circumstances. Many defense may be applicable, including:

  • Actual innocence;
  • Lack of knowledge; and
  • Lack of intent.

Prosecutors must determine the placement, layering, and integration of the supposedly ill-gotten funds. Ultimately, the state has the burden of proving the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced Orlando white collar criminal defense attorney can review your charges and help you determine the best course of action.

Contact Our Central Florida Money Laundering Defense Lawyer Today

At The Baez Law Firm, our Florida white collar defense lawyer has the skills and legal knowledge to defend the full range of money laundering charges. You deserve justice. If you or your loved one was arrested for money laundering, please do not hesitate to contact us today. Consultations are confidential. With a law office in Orlando, we provide criminal defense representation throughout Central Florida, including in Orange County, Seminole County, and Osceola County.

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