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Hinton & Bailey LLP

Money Laundering

Houston Money Laundering Charges Lawyer

Bank Fraud

Consumers and small businesses rely on banks more than ever, with many people having not just one, but several bank accounts. When we trust a financial institution with our money, we trust that the bank will act in our best interests and within the confines of the law. When this trust is violated, state and federal laws provide the potential for consumers to hold banks responsible and to be reimbursed for their damages.

Our attorneys have represented consumers and small businesses in many contexts, including against major banks and financial institutions.

Types of Bank Fraud

Credit card companies and banks can use a variety of tactics to take advantage of their customers, including:

  • Hidden fees – undisclosed or concealed fees for maintaining accounts, balance transfers, cash advances, and other financial transactions
  • APR misrepresentation – Misrepresenting the credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) or the APR to be applied to balances transferred from other accounts
  • Unauthorized charges – charging credit card customers for “add-on” products or services, such as payment protection plans, without customer authorization
  • Late fees – deliberately setting payment due dates on non-business days, causing the payment to be processed on a later day in order to collect late fees and excess interest
  • Double charging – charging customers twice for the sale transaction
  • Failure to post timely payments to account – Failing to post payments when received on time, resulting in late fees and excess interest for the customer
  • Slamming – transferring balances without the customer’s authorization
  • Bait-and-switch schemes – where a seller advertises a product with the intention of tricking customers into purchase a more expensive product or on more favorable terms to the seller.

Money Laundering Charges

Companies and individuals engaged in seemingly innocent business activities might find themselves targeted by state or federal prosecutors in connection with money cleaning charges. The prosecutions usually originate with investigations into drug crimes or drug manufacturing or activities associated with organized crime.

Charges of Money Laundering in Texas

Laundering money begins with the placement of revenue from illegal activities into the commerce stream. The money is systematically transferred or moved in a way that is designed to hide its original illegal source. If done correctly, money washing results in funds that are free from any trace of their illegal origins and can be integrated or used without fear of detection.

According to the Texas Penal Code, it is a crime to invest, expend or receive money from illegal activities with the intention of furthering the criminal activity. A person can also face charges for illegally obtained money by engaging in any of the following activities with respect to the funds from a criminal enterprise:

  • Acquiring
  • Maintaining an interest
  • Concealing
  • Transporting
  • Possessing
  • Transferring

Criminal money cleaning charges frequently involve the use of corporations created solely to shield the illegal sources of the money by moving it between multiple layers of shell corporations. Legitimate businesses that handle large amounts of cash can be used to move illegally obtained funds along with the legitimate cash proceeds of the business.

Penalties for Washing Money

In Texas, the laundering of funds is a type of felony crime. The sentence that a judge is authorized to impose upon a person convicted of the crime depends upon the amount of money involved in the cleaning scheme. The following are sentencing ranges for different charges:

  • Laundering amount from $1,500 to $20,000: State jail felony punishable by incarceration from 180 days to two years and a $10,000 fine
  • Laundering amount from $20,000 to $100,000: Third-degree felony punishable by incarceration from two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
  • Laundering amount from $100,000 to $200,000: Second-degree felony punishable by incarceration from two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
  • Laundering amount in excess of $200,000: First-degree felony punishable by incarceration from five to 99 years or life in prison and a $10,000 fine

Defenses for Charges of Fund Laundering

Houston criminal defense attorney’s Hinton & Bailey know from his years of defending the rights of fund washing defendants that prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused knew of the illegal nature of the activity generating the money. The intentions and knowledge of the accused are key elements that prosecutors must establish and which money laundering attorneys can challenge to weaken the cases against their clients.

Talk to a Money Laundering Charges Lawyer in Houston, TX

If you are under investigation for washing or cleaning crimes, a skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney can help you to avoid mistakes that can strengthen the prosecutor’s case against you. Before talking to investigators or prosecutors, make an appointment with Hinton & Bailey by calling 713-864-4477.