Money Laundering under Texas law is codified by Texas Penal Code 34.02 and says,
(a) 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.
As you can see this statute is extremely broad and can be construed to hold if a person is in possession of even $1 of drug money – they are guilty of money laundering.
Despite the breadth of this law – it is typically seen in conjunction with other drug offenses such as possession with intent to distribute or manufacturing and delivering of a controlled substance. It’s also not uncommon to see law enforcement seek a money laundering conviction where the evidence of possession or the sale of drugs is weak and can’t be linked to a certain person.
Under Texas law, knowledge of the specific criminal enterprise is not required to show a culpable mental state. This does not mean, however, that a juror deciding a money laundering case cannot disagree and think the nexus between the person in possession of the money and the criminal activity are so remote as to cause an injustice by rendering a conviction. Contact Rosenthal & Wadas today if you have been involved in any kind of money laundering dispute and are seeking counsel from experienced attorneys.