Concealing the origins of unlawfully obtained money or services through complex banking transfers or transactions is known as money laundering. The circumstances surrounding a money laundering crime can vary widely. Some use small transactions while others use repetitive bank transfers into a separate account. The overall scheme shared by all money launders is to return money to the laundered in an obscure and indirect way.
Normally, considerable time and effort is put into a money laundering scheme. It can be incredibly difficult for law enforcement to trace money launderers since they are keen to hide their tracks. However, when they are charged and prosecuted the penalties are serious. Committing to a money laundering scheme is at the least a state jail felony, which means you could be sentenced to time in jail or prison.
If you or someone you know has been accused of money laundering, we implore you to get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
Georgetown Attorney for Money Laundering in TX
Have you been accused of money laundering by your employer or law enforcement? The crime is incredibly serious and can lead to life altering penalties. A conviction could mean restitution costs, expensive fines in the thousands, and years spent in prison. That is why we urge you to gain quality legal representation such as Price Magee & Twine, PLLC.
Michael J. Price is reputable defense attorney with the right experience needed to fight your charges. He has represented numerous clients in complex white-collar crimes. With his extensive knowledge in business and financial matters, attorney Price is the right attorney for the job. Do what’s best for you and call him now at (512) 354-1880 to set up your first consultation completely free.
Overview of Money Laundering in Texas
- Legal Definitions for Money Laundering in Texas
- Money Laundering Laws in Texas
- Penalties for Money Laundering in Texas
- Additional Resources
Legal Definitions for Money Laundering in Texas
To understand money laundering laws in Texas, you must first be acquainted with the legal definitions related to money laundering. These terms used in a legal setting may have a vastly different meaning than when used colloquially. Under the Texas Penal Code Section 34.01, the term “criminal activity” refers to any offense or preparatory offense that is:
- Classified as a felony under state or federal laws; or
- Is punishable by confinement for up to one year in the laws of another state
The term “funds” can include:
- Coin or paper money from the United States or any other country that designates the item as legal tender that is circulated in the country and used as a medium of exchange;
- Silver certificates, United States Treasury notes and Federal Reserve System notes;
- Any official foreign bank notes that are used as a medium of exchange in a foreign country or bank draft; and
- Currency including electronic funds, personal checks, bank checks, money order, bearer of negotiable instrument, bearer of investment security, bearer security, a certificate in stock, stored value cards or digital currency
The last definition is for the legal term “proceeds,” which refers to funds acquired or derived directly or indirectly from, produced through, realized through or used during the commission of the following:
- An action of sorts; or
- Conduct that constitutes an offender under failure to pay taxes
Money Laundering Laws in Texas
Concealing funds from the government, employer or other entity through complex schemes is illegal in the United States. The law regarding money laundering is broad so it can encompass all types of embezzling schemes used to launder money. Under Texas Penal Code section 34.02, a person is guilty of money laundering if they do the following:
- Acquire and/or maintain an interest in, conceal, possess, transfer or transport proceeds of or related to criminal activity;
- Supervise, conduct or facilitate a transaction that involves the proceeds of criminal activity of some sort;
- Expends, receives, invests, or offers to do any of the three the proceeds or funds that a person is believed to be related to criminal activity; or
- Invests, finances or intents to do one of the two for an operation to further the commission of criminal activity
It’s important to note that knowledge of the specific nature of the criminal activity giving rise to proceeds is not required to establish a culpable mental state. This essentially means you aren’t required to know everything about the criminal scheme to be charged with money laundering.
Texas law has listed several admissible defenses that can be used against money laundering charges. If the person acted with intent to facilitate lawful seizure, forfeiture or disposition of funds or other law enforcement purposes, then they can avoid criminal charges.
It’s also a defense to the rule that the transaction was necessary to preserve a person’s right to representation or that the funds were received as bona fide legal fees by a licensed attorney and at the time of their receipt the attorney did not have actual knowledge that the funds had derived from some type of criminal activity.
Penalties for Money Laundering Under Texas Law
Money laundering unfortunately has harsh penalties to deter people from committing the crime. The consequences for money laundering depend on the amount of money laundered from the government, employer or other entity. The penalties for money laundering include:
- State Jail Felony – If the funds laundered were at $2,500 or more, but less than $150,00
- State jail felony penalties include up to 12 months in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-Degree Felony – If the funds laundered were at $30,000 or more, but less than $150,000
- A third-degree felony can result in up to 5 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-Degree Felony – If the funds were laundered at $150,000 or more, but less than $300,000
- Second-degree felonies can result in up to 10 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000
- First-Degree Felony – If the funds were laundered at $300,000 or more
- A first-degree felony is the highest-level charge and can result in up to 99 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $10,000
Money Laundering Laws in Texas – Visit the official website for the Texas Penal Code to learn more about their money laundering and other financial crimes. Access the site to read the element specifics, definitions, penalties and other related offenses.
International Money Laundering Information Network – Visit the official website for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to learn more about their Money-Laundering Information Network (IMOLIN). Access the site to learn more about their task forces, the key features of the program and more information regarding new ways to launder using cryptocurrency.
Money Laundering Lawyer in Williamson County, Texas
Accusations of money laundering can take a huge toll on both your professional and personal life. The penalties associated with the crime are staggering and if convicted you could have a hard time ever gaining employment again. To fight back effectively against these charges, we suggest you get in contact with Price Magee & Twine, PLLC.
Michael J. Price is an experienced defense lawyer who has an in-depth knowledge of financial crimes and how they operate. With his background in business and currency, you can rest assured you’re in the best hands possible. Call him now at (512) 354-1880 to set up your first consultation free. Price Magee & Twine, PLLC operates throughout the greater Williamson County and Bell County areas in the state of Texas.
This article was last updated on November 21, 2019.