Most people have heard the term “money laundering,” but what does it really mean? In short, money laundering is a scheme to make the proceeds from criminal activity seem like proceeds from a legitimate business. 

New technology sometimes complicates financial matters. Cybercrime and cryptocurrency can contribute to unintentional involvement in money laundering. Here is what you should know. 

Definition

Money laundering is both a federal and a state crime. Texas penal code states that you are laundering money if you knowingly do one of four things: 

  • Possess or transport money gained illegally 
  • Play a part in a transaction involving the proceeds from an unlawful activity 
  • Receive or invest funds gained as a result of criminal activity, or offer to do so 
  • Finance or offer to finance criminal activity 

Texas law does not require that you know any specifics regarding what criminal activity gave rise to funds. A law enforcement officer or someone acting on behalf of an officer may inform you that the funds arose from illegal actions. At that point, you should avoid any involvement with the money. 

Penalties

Texas courts impose harsh penalties for money laundering. The length of the sentence and amount of the fine depends largely on the amount of money involved in the laundering scheme. Laundering funds is a felony even for quantities as small as $2,500. 

Defense

Not all money laundering charges result in conviction. For example, you may take possession of funds with the intent to seize it and hand it over to law enforcement. If authorities suspect you of this offense, arm yourself with knowledge so you can mount a rigorous defense.