A judge in the border town of Brownsville, Texas has reduced a money laundering charge, filed against a woman who opened accounts at Bank of America, in order to facilitate the movement of drug profits from Florida to Mexico, to a misdemeanor. She has been sentenced, by a US Magistrate Judge, to five years' probation and two hundred hours of community service, according to court records publicly available.
Honestly, this sentence does NOT serve as a deterrent to others who are tempted, by the lure of easy money, to assist in bulk cash smuggling and money laundering. Under the arrangement, she will not even have a felony conviction on her record, pleading guilty to a minor charge involving the filing of reports for financial transactions. Is this justice ? I seriously doubt it, no matter how much assistance she rendered to law enforcement, or intends to at the upcoming trials of co-defendants.
Never, never give anyone involved in money laundering a free pass, because the lack of severity will be remembered by others who read about it, and they will not be sufficiently deterred from engaging in some form of money laundering, if the opportunity presents itself, and their moral compass is too weak to withstand the attraction of a quick profit.
*US vs. Bea Fairbanks, Case No.: 14-cr-008MJ (SD TX).