In the news today was the disclosure that, in an El Paso case, an offender who cut a plea agreement with Federal authorities, will be sentence to a maximum of five years' probation, for his involvement in accepting money stolen from the treasury of a Mexican state, which constituted money laundering.
Unless a violator comes to law enforcement first, and engages in Substantial Assistance, that results in indictments, or the acquisition of a large amount of criminal proceeds, probation is not an appropriate sentence. In the facts I mentioned above, this was not the case.
If probation becomes a widespread sentence for individuals charged with money laundering, there will not only be insufficient deterrence to other considering similar action, defendants could reap serious profits for their crime, and sock it away in an offshore tax haven, to await the expiration of their probation term, when they could access it with impunity. Additionally, should defendants who are given a non-prison sentence, seek employment in the private sector, employers may judge their actions as minor transgressions, and place them in positions where they have access to client funds. Not a good idea.
If law enforcement want to encourage arrested money launderers to cooperate, they should offer a year and a day of incarceration, so that the individual will receive gain time, thus reducing their sentence, but still showing others that money laundering has consequences.