U.S. District Judge James Turk dismissed 25 money laundering convictions against a couple who ran a major moonshine still in Pittyslvania County.
In reversing a jury’s guilty verdicts, Turk cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, reports The Roanoke Times. The high court ruled that when revenue from an illegal activity is used to support the activity’s essential expenses, it cannot be considered proceeds for the purpose of money laundering.
Turk determined that the couple had used the money they earned selling moonshine toward the cost of maintaining their illegal operation.
The Supreme Court ruling only applies to cases where the punishment for money laundering is substantially greater than for the underlying criminal activity. The Smiths face up to five years for moonshining, while the maximum sentence for money laundering is 20 years.