81. Dirty & Laundered Money

Law enforcement agencies should seize all property that can be shown to have been purchased with dirty or ‘laundered’ money or money otherwise obtained illegally or immorally. The punishment for knowingly holding property obtained through such means should be similar to the punishment for the theft of property with an equivalent value, namely a penalty of up to several times the market value of such property. If the sellers knew that dirty or ‘laundered’ money was used to purchase their property, they should also be punished with a punishment similar to the buyer’s.

If, after being purchased with dirty money, the property was legitimately sold or given to innocent buyers or receivers, those innocent people should be allowed to lawfully keep the property unless the property was unlawfully or unfairly obtained from the identified legitimate previous owner, in which case that previous owner would be entitled to the immediate return of the property if he/she so chooses. If this previous owner chooses to take possess of the property, he/she would be required to exchange any direct compensation he/she may have originally received, for the property itself. If the legitimate owner does not desire the return of the property but was unfairly or partially compensated at the time of the illegal removal of the property from his/her possession, the legitimate owner would be entitled to an inflation adjusted proportional compensation of the uncompensated portion of the property’s value at the time of the theft or loss, plus a punitive multiple based on this amount.

Any money or compensation needed to correct the situation should all come from the party or parties who either originated or used dirty money or acted illegally or unfairly. At no time should innocent parties be required to suffer financially. If the government cannot find the people responsible for such unjust transactions, the government must bear the direct cost, not the victims.

Banks or other financial institutions should be required to report suspected and actual laundered money to their respective law enforcement officials. Such institutions who fail to to so in good faith should, as punishment, be held liable for the entire amount of such moneies that have passed through them. Preferably, to reduce the financial risk to such institutions, they should catch such activities while the money is still inside their systems. It should be reminded, that these institutions, as any other entity, either individuals or businesses, could stand to profit from their reporting of any criminal activity if these principles were to be implemented.

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