WEST virginia legislature
2017 regular session
House Bill 2585
By Delegates Storch, Arvon, R. Romine, A. Evans, Gearheart, Moore, Atkinson, Zatezalo, Shott, Hanshaw and Lewis
[Passed April 8, 2017; in effect ninety days from passage.]
AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-15-1, §61-15-2, §61-15-3 and §61-15-4, all relating to laundering of proceeds from specified criminal activities generally; defining terms; creating misdemeanor and felony offenses of conducting financial transactions involving proceeds of criminal activity; distinguishing between offenses based on monetary value of transaction; providing for penalties; providing for seizure and forfeiture of property or monetary instruments; establishing the burden of proof in a forfeiture proceeding; authorizing sentencing court to order disgorgement at disposition; and clarifying conduct that constitutes separate offenses.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §61-15-1, §61-15-2, §61-15-3 and §61-15-4, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 15. money laundering.
As used in this article, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
(1) “Conducts” includes, but is not limited to, initiating, concluding, participating in, or assisting in a transaction.
(2) “Criminal activity” means a violation of:
(A) The felony provisions of section eleven, article forty-one, chapter thirty-three of this code;
(B) Felony violations of chapter sixty-a of this code;
(C) Felony violations of article two of this chapter;
(D) The provisions of sections one, two, three, four, five, eleven, twelve, subsection (a), section thirteen, fourteen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-a, twenty-two, twenty-four, twenty-four-a, twenty-four-b and twenty-four-d, article three of this chapter;
(E) Felony provisions of article three-c, three-e and four of this chapter;
(F) The provisions of section eight, article eight of this chapter; and
(G) The felony provisions of articles eight-a, eight-c and fourteen of this chapter.
(3) “Cryptocurrency” means digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, and which operate independently of a central bank.
(4) “Financial institution” means a financial institution as defined in 31 U. S. C. §5312 which institution is located in this state.
(5) “Financial transaction” means a transaction which effects intrastate, interstate or foreign commerce, and:
(A) Involves the movement of funds by wire or other means;
(B) Involves the use of a monetary instrument;
(C) Involves the transfer of title to real or personal property; or
(D) Involves the use of a financial institution which is engaged in, or the activities of which effect intrastate, interstate or foreign commerce.
(6) “Gift card” means a card, voucher or certificate which contains or represents a specific amount of money issued by a retailer or financial institution to be used as an alternative to cash purposes.
(7) “Knowing” means actual knowledge. For purposes of this article, a person may be considered to have actual knowledge if the belief is based upon representations of a law-enforcement officer engaged in his or her official duties while acting in an undercover capacity or a person acting at the direction of a law-enforcement officer engaged in his or her official duties.
(8) “Monetary instruments” means coin or currency of the United States or of any other country, travelers’ checks, personal checks, bank checks, gift cards, prepaid credit cards, money orders, cryptocurrency, investment securities in bearer form or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery, and negotiable instruments in bearer form or otherwise in such form that title thereto passes upon delivery.
(9) “Proceeds” means property or monetary instrument acquired or derived, directly or indirectly, from, produced through, realized through, or caused by an act or omission and includes property, real or personal, of any kind.
(10) “Property” means anything of value, and includes any interest therein, including any benefit, privilege, claim or right with respect to anything of value, whether real or personal, and monetary instruments.
(11) “Transaction” means a purchase, sale, loan, pledge, gift, transfer, delivery, or other disposition. With respect to a financial institution, “transaction” includes a deposit, withdrawal, transfer between accounts, exchange of currency, loan, extension of credit, purchase or sale of any stock, bond, certificate of deposit, or other monetary instrument, use of a safety deposit box, or any other payment, transfer, or delivery by, through or to a financial institution, by whatever means effected.
§61-15-2. Laundering through financial transactions.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to conduct or attempt to conduct a financial transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represents the proceeds of, or is derived directly or indirectly from the proceeds of, criminal activity:
(1) With the intent to promote the carrying on of the criminal activity; or
(2) Knowing that the transaction is designed in whole or part:
(i) To conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds of the criminal activity; or
(ii) To avoid any transaction reporting requirement imposed by law.
(b) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section where the amount involved in the transaction is less than $1,000 is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be confined in jail for not more than one year or fined not more than $1,000, or both confined and fined.
(c) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section where the amount involved in the transaction is not less than $1,000 nor more than $20,000 is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than five years, or fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000, or both imprisoned and fined.
(d) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section where the amount involved in the transaction in excess of $20,000 is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for not less than two nor more than ten years, or fined not less than $5,000 nor more than $25,000, or both imprisoned and fined.
§61-15-3. Forfeiture; disgorgement.
(a) Any property or monetary instruments involved in a violation of this article, and any property or monetary instruments traceable to the violation, may be seized and forfeited consistent with the procedures in the West Virginia Contraband Forfeiture Act, as provided in article seven, chapter sixty-a of this code: Provided, That in any forfeiture proceeding pursuant to this section, the burden of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) of this section, the court, as part of sentencing for a violation under this article, may direct the disgorgement to a victim of any property or monetary instruments involved in the violation and any property or monetary instruments traceable to the violation.
§61-15-4. Distinguishing transactions for prosecution purposes.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision to the contrary, each transaction committed in violation of this article constitutes a separate offense.