Money laundering schemes are conducted in a variety of ways, with some being much more complicated and intricate than others. However, all money laundering schemes share the same universal component. For a crime to be considered money laundering, it must involve concealing the origins of unlawfully obtained money, services or goods through a complex banking transfer system or multiple transactions. How offenders commit the crime differs depending on the situation. Some will launder through small transactions while others use repetitive bank transfers into a separate account. In the end, all money laundering schemes involve returning money to the laundered in an obscure and indirect way so it’s untraceable.
Most money laundering schemes involve a considerable amount of time and effort to work. This means law enforcement may spend years tracking down money launderers through hundreds of suspicious transactions or bank transfers. So, when the district attorney has sufficient evidence you should expect them to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for money laundering, it’s important you secure legal representation. The penalties for money laundering are incredibly serious and can include prison time. To protect your rights and future, get in contact with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
Houston Defense Attorney for Money Laundering in TX
Money laundering is classified as a felony, which means the penalties for the crime include time in prison and outstanding fines in the thousands. Finding excellent legal representation to fight these crimes isn’t just important, but necessary for your future. If you or someone you know has been charged with money laundering in Texas, get in contact with The Benken Law Firm.
Brian Benken of The Benken Law Firm has worked tirelessly for over 30 years defending clients of all types of crimes including white collar offenses. He understands how stressful a criminal charge can be and the toll it can take on one’s future. That is why attorney Benken will exhaust every possible legal route to build the best possible defense for your case. To get in touch with The Benken Law Firm call (713) 223 - 4051 and set up your first case review free of charge.
The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout Harris County and all communities in Houston including Alief, Brays Oaks, Westchase, Midtown, The Heights and River Oaks.
Overview of Money Laundering in Texas
- Texas Legal Definitions for Money Laundering
- What is Money Laundering in Texas?
- What is the Penalty for Money Laundering in Texas?
- Additional Resources
Texas Legal Definitions for Money Laundering
It’s important you have an understanding of certain legal definitions before you can learn about the penalties for money laundering. Although these terms are also used colloquially, in a courtroom these legal definitions have a very specific meaning that may be different than what you’re used to. For instance, 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 either state or federal laws; or
- Is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year in the laws of another state
In context to the crime of money laundering, the term “funds” refers to:
- Coin or paper money from the U.S. or any country that designates the item as legal tender and uses it as a medium of exchange;
- Official foreign bank notes used as a medium of exchange in another country or bank draft;
- Silver certificates, Federal Reserve System notes or United States Treasury notes; or
- Currency including personal checks, bank checks, electronic funds, money orders, bearer of negotiable instruments, bearers of investment security, bearer security, a certificate in stock, stored value cards or digital currency
What is Money Laundering in Texas?
When a person attempts to or succeeds in concealing funds from the government, employer, or other entity through a complex financial scheme it’s considered money laundering. The state of Texas has a very broad statute for money laundering that encompasses other financial schemes such as embezzlement. The crime of money laundering can be found under Texas Penal Code Section 34.02, which states a person is guilty of money laundering if they do one of 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
Having knowledge of the specific nature of criminal activity giving rise to proceeds is not required to establish a culpable mental state by the prosecution. Essentially, this means the prosecutor doesn’t have to prove you knew about every aspect of the financial scheme to be charged. Being a part of the money laundering scheme in any small way is enough to face criminal charges.
What is the Penalty for Money Laundering in Texas?
The state of Texas has implemented harsh penalties to stop money launderers. The sentencing for money laundering relies on the amount of money laundered from the government, offender’s employer, or any other entity. The penalties for money laundering under Texas law can be found listed below.
- 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 Defense Attorney in Houston, Texas
The penalties for money laundering are life-changing and can put an indefinite stop to your personal and professional goals. Even simple allegations of money laundering could affect your career and personal relationships. That is why it’s highly recommended you fight back with skilled and experienced legal representation with The Benken Law Firm.
Attorney Brian Benken The Benken Law Firm have been practicing criminal defense for years. He understands what it takes to fight serious felony charges and has 30 years of experience to back it up. You can contact The Benken Law Firm at (713) 223 - 4051 to set up your first consultation free of charge. The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout the all parts of Harris County and Houston, as well as every region in Texas.