Federal Money Laundering Offenders: An Examination of Offense, Behavior and Sentencing

Courtney Semisch, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Congress made money laundering a federal offense in October, 1986 in an effort to curb the use of criminally derived proceeds by criminal organizations. The United States Sentencing Commission responded by promulgating money laundering guidelines that established punishment levels consistent with the serious offenses of concern to Congress. In the course of evaluating the severity and operation of the money laundering guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has recently concluded a data collection effort with a representative sample of money laundering offenders. This presentation will summarize major findings from this data collection effort, highlighting the types and scope of offenses that produced the laundered funds, details about money laundering practices and procedures, and current sentencing outcomes for these offenders. Discussion will also include recently proposed changes to the money laundering sentencing guidelines and their effects on sentencing outcomes.

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Updated 05/20/2006