The West Virginia legislature has included cryptocurrency in a list of monetary instruments subject to a proposed bill defining criminal penalties for money laundering offenses. The bill, titled Creating felony crime of conducting financial transactions involving proceeds of criminal activity, has a total of eleven sponsors – ten Republicans and one Democrat, and is currently being reviewed by the House Judiciary Committee.
According to the text of the bill, digital currency would be one of the “monetary instruments” subject to the proposed law’s provisions. The bill’s full definition of those monetary instruments defines them as:
“[C]oin 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.”
The proposed law would forbid money laundering through financial transactions, as well as the transportation, transmission, or transfer of any proceeds derived from criminal activity. Those found guilty of knowingly committing those acts could face fines as high as $25,000 and incarceration in a state correctional facility for up to fifteen years. The bill’s language also includes provisions enabling the state to seize the assets used in those illicit transactions and transfers.