Following revisions of the jurisdiction sentencing guidelines in 2014, money launderers in the UK are looking at longer and harsher penalties.
In 2018 the average sentencing period rose to a record high; 27 months, for those imprisoned because of money laundering. That is an increase of 32% from 2008, according to reports by Financial Times.
The maximum sentence, according to 2002 Proceeds of Crime Act, is 14 years in prison or they pay a hefty fine, although in the recent years monetary penalties haven’t been imposed as much as prison time has. This new update is allowing prosecutors to argue for longer sentencing periods for money launderers.
In my opinion this is great news, it will bring fear into those looking to launder money and perform illicit activities. Measures had to be taken to protect and prevent further victims, who would be directly impacted with distress, inconvenience or most importantly, monetary loss.
A total of 463,938 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) were submitted to the UK National Crime Agency in 2018 which is a 10% increase from 2017, and of those, approximately 22,000 reports were cited of suspected money laundering which is a 20% increase from 2017. 40 arrests were made from the 28 investigations done due to SARs.
The number of arrests or investigations might seem low on the surface, but it is a huge blow to those involved in money laundering and a big feat for crime agencies.