Money laundering happens more than most people may realize. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes estimates about $2 trillion dollars is laundered annually worldwide.
Money laundering is a complex crime. It is rarely ever charged as a single crime. Money laundering occurs when someone tries to conceal the source of illegally acquired money by passing it through a legal business. Since the money was acquired illegally, another crime was committed to obtain these funds. People charged with money laundering may face charges for drug offenses, mail fraud or racketeering.
Money laundering is treated seriously. To face a money laundering charge in Texas, you do not even have to know about the underlying crime. You only need to know the money was obtained illegally.
It is a felony charge in Texas. The amount of money involved determines whether you are facing a third, second or first-degree felony. Those accused of laundering more than $200,000 are charged with a first-degree felony. A conviction can mean up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
When money laundering crosses state lines, it is charged as a federal crime. This may occur with drug trafficking or other crimes. Money stolen from the federal government and laundered is also a federal crime.
A federal money laundering conviction has serious potential punishments. A conviction means fines up to $500,000 and a prison sentence of up to 20 years. The federal government can also sentence you for each count of money laundering. Laundering money on 10 separate occasions can end in 10 money laundering sentences.
With such severe penalties, you will want to mount a rigorous defense against these charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney can examine the evidence against you, build a case and help you prove reasonable doubt.