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What Are the Penalties for Money Laundering in Texas?

 Posted on August 22, 2019 in Criminal Defense

Texas white collar crime defense attorney

Money laundering can occur in various forms, but it always involves money that was made as a result of illegal activities. It is defined as the concealment of the origins of illegally obtained money, typically by means of transfers involving foreign banks or legitimate businesses. The money produced from the crime is considered “dirty,” and the process “launders” it to make it look clean or legitimate. If a person knowingly concealed, transported, invested, or spent money that was made in an illegal way, he or she participated in committing this crime. Under the Texas penal code, money laundering is classified as a white-collar crime. This type of crime involves deceit and is motivated by the desire for financial gain. In Texas, the penalties for money laundering depend on how much money someone is accused of laundering, but this crime is always charged as a felony.

Three Stages of Money Laundering

Typically, money laundering involves three steps: 

  • Placement: This is the process of moving cash from its original source. In some cases, the source can be disguised or misreported. The next phase places it into circulation by way of banks, shops, casinos, or other companies, either local or abroad.

  • Layering: The intent of this stage is to make it difficult to follow and uncover a laundering activity. It is meant to make the trail of illegal proceeds difficult for law enforcement to detect.

  • Integration: The movement of laundered money into the economy primarily through financial institutions makes it appear to be authentic business profits.

Examples of Money Laundering

If an individual makes a large sum of money selling an illegal substance, such as drugs, he or she will look for a way to spend that money without causing suspicion. One form of cleaning the money is to establish a “shell” company. A fake company appears to be a genuine business; however, it does not sell any products or perform any services. The business owner creates the guise that the profits made from the sale of drugs were a result of the bogus company.

Another way to launder money is called "smurfing," also referred to as “structuring.” In this case, the offender divides up large amounts of cash into many smaller deposits, dispersing them across numerous bank accounts in order to avoid detection. Money laundering can also be committed through wire transfers, currency exchanges, and “mules.” Mules are people who sneak large sums of money across borders and deposit them in foreign accounts, where enforcement is typically not as strict.

Money laundering can also take place by using online auctions or gambling websites, where illegally obtained money is converted into gaming currency, then turned back into untraceable, “clean” cash.

Punishments for Money Laundering

The penalties for money laundering in Texas are harsh, and they are designed this way in an attempt to deter this type of crime. The punishment depends on the amount of cash that is being laundered:

  • If a person is accused of laundering $1,500 to $20,000, he or she can face 180 days to two years in jail with fines up to $10,000.

  • If a person allegedly laundered $20,000 to $100,000, this is a third-degree felony that results in two to 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

  • If a person is accused of laundering $100,000 to $200,000, this is a second-degree felony with two to 20 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

  • If a person allegedly launders more than $100,000, it is a felony in the first degree. This carries a $10,000 fine and five to 99 years in jail.

Contact a Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Money laundering is a serious offense in the state of Texas. This “white collar” crime can carry significant penalties if the accused is convicted. If you or someone you know is charged with money laundering, you need aggressive legal representation. The tenacious attorneys at Crowder Law Firm have secured over 300 not-guilty verdicts and acquittals for our clients. Our dedicated Plano, Texas money laundering defense attorneys will thoroughly examine the circumstances of your case and build a strong defense. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call our office today at 214-544-0061.






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