Money laundering is a criminal offense under Texas law that involves the attempt to conceal or disguise the proceeds of illegal activity, typically by transferring them through a series of financial transactions that appear to be legitimate.
The Texas Penal Code defines money laundering under Section 34.02, which states:
“A person commits an offense if the person knowingly: (1) acquires or maintains an interest in, conceals, possesses, transfers, or transports the proceeds of criminal activity; (2) conducts, supervises, or facilitates a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity; (3) invests, expends, or receives, or offers to invest, expend, or receive the proceeds of criminal activity or funds that the person believes are the proceeds of criminal activity; or (4) finances or invests or intends to finance or invest funds that the person believes are intended to further the commission of criminal activity.”
In simpler terms, money laundering involves taking money that has been obtained through illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, and then making it appear as though it came from a legitimate source, such as a business transaction. This is done to avoid detection by law enforcement and to use the money for legitimate purposes without attracting attention.
Money laundering is a serious offense under Texas law and can result in significant penalties. The severity of the punishment depends on the value of the money or assets that were involved in the laundering scheme.
- If the value of the money or items inolved is less than $30,000, it is considered a state jail felony, which can result in imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years in a State Jail Facility, and a fine up to $10,000.
- If the value is $30,000 or more, but less than $150,000, it is considered a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
- If the value is $150,000 or more, it is considered a first-degree felony, with a punishment range of 5 to 99 years or life, and a fine of up to $10,000.