WJI is taking a look at justice-related bills adopted during the 2019-20 session.
2019 Act 161 created a law that specifically criminalized money laundering. Previously, offenses that would be treated as money laundering under federal law were charged under state law as crimes of theft or receiving stolen property.
The new law prohibits knowingly getting proceeds that the receiver knows are derived from unlawful activity or conducting a transaction involving proceeds that are derived from unlawful activity. (Yes, buying a drink with money your buddy won in the office pool is a crime if you knew that money came from illegal gambling!)
The new law also prohibits involvement in or financing of moving or transferring proceeds while knowing that the proceeds were derived from illegal activity; making available funds while aware that they will be used for committing or aiding illegal activity; and conducting a transaction involving proceeds received through an illegal activity and knowing that the transaction is designed to avoid a reporting requirement under federal law or to conceal the ownership, control, location, or source of the illicit proceeds.
The law creates several levels of penalties, depending value of the proceeds involved.
If the value is $2,500 or less, the crime is punishable by up to nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
For greater values, the maximum penalties are:
The law was introduced as Senate Bill 368. Its companion bill was Assembly Bill 350. The lead authors of SB 767 were State Senators Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) and Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac). The lead sponsors of AB 350 were State Representatives Rob Hutton (R-Brookfield) and Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls).
Gov. Tony Evers signed the bill into law on March 4.
No fiscal estimates were filed.
Hutton – Everyone knows someone who has been a victim of fraud, and yet law enforcement and prosecutors have not had the appropriate tools to stop it. While federal laws prohibit money laundering, there is no money laundering statue in Wisconsin. Practically, this means that unless a criminal engages in over $200,000 worth of financial crimes, there is little Wisconsin law enforcement can do to prosecute these crimes.
Registering for the bill: Wisconsin Bankers Association
Registering against the bill: No organization or individual registered against the bill.
Registering "other" position on the bill: NAIOP Wisconsin (Commercial Real Estate Development Association), Wisconsin Realtors Association.
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