Money is transferred in many ways daily in Texas, but money laundering is a particular method of moving money that is defined by the intent behind it. Per the How Stuff Works website, the idea behind money laundering is to “clean up” money that has been acquired through criminal activity. For a person to be guilty of money laundering, the individual should be deliberately moving money for the purposes of hiding the shady origins of the money.

To take one scenario, an embezzler may have stolen tens of thousands of dollars from a company but he cannot just deposit that money into his own bank account. Bank accounts are required to report transactions of large dollar amounts, so the embezzler would likely be caught. Instead, the embezzler will try to send the money through legitimate financial institutions to alter its form and amount so that the money can be later used without an incriminating paper trail.

What makes these money transfers illegal is that they are intended to hide or conceal the criminal origins of the money. The idea is by the time the money is integrated into the economy in the form of a business investment or profits from an asset sale, there is no trail to lead back to the illegal nature of the money. So a person guilty of money laundering should possess a deliberate intent to perform this act of concealment.

However, Texas law does not determine if money laundering occurred only by an intention to obscure the money’s criminal past. FindLaw explains that Texas law enforcement may take any kind of knowledge that the money had criminal connections as evidence that a person engaged in money laundering. On the other hand, a person can contest money laundering charges on the grounds of ignorance of the money’s criminal past. Other defense options can be explored with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.