Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Dallas Attorney Pleads Guilty to Laundering Purported Drug Money

 A Dallas lawyer pleaded guilty today to conspiring to launder money he believed was linked to narcotics trafficking, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.

Rayshun Jackson, the 52-year-old defense attorney at the helm of The Jackson Law Firm, was arrested in April. On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money before Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn.

“As an attorney, Mr. Jackson swore an oath to uphold the rule of law – an oath he violated completely when he conspired with purported drug traffickers to commit a federal offense,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “Street-level dealers may be the most conspicuous sign of our nation’s drug epidemic, but the men and women who launder the profits are no less culpable. The drug trade would die if it weren’t lucrative. Mr. Jackson attempted to profit off the backs of addicted individuals, and we are gratified to bring him to justice.”

“Money launderers, like Mr. Jackson, complete the circle of drug trafficking by returning ill-gained profits to criminal organizations,” said DEA Dallas Special Agent in Charge Eduardo A. Chávez.  “As a defense attorney, Mr. Jackson disregarded his oath to promote respect and confidence in the legal profession. Today’s plea reflects that nobody is above DEA’s reach, especially those who swore to defend the rule of law.”

In plea papers, Mr. Jackson admitted to laundering $380,000 for an individual he believed was a drug trafficker, but was actually an undercover DEA agent.

He was introduced to the agent on Sept. 3, 2020 by “Person A,” the leader of a large-scale opioid distribution ring known to deal in illegally diverted narcotics.  After Person A vouched for each individual’s credibility, Mr. Jackson and the undercover agent discussed how the attorney could “clean” the agent’s “dope money.”

Mr. Jackson advised the agent that he could launder around $500,000 a month by funneling it through non-traceable cash businesses (i.e., coin laundries, car washes) and shell corporations. He agreed to use his firm’s bank accounts, as well as charitable bank accounts established for providing legal services to indigent persons, to transfer the money into and out of the undercover agent’s bank account.

“Ray is the bomb... He’s a thug, he’s just got a law degree,” Person A told the undercover agent after the meeting, according to court documents.

Three weeks later, the undercover agent delivered a black backpack stuffed with $100,000 cash to Mr. Jackson at his office. The attorney agreed to launder the money in return for 5% cash up front. After depositing the remaining $95,000 into his various bank accounts in various amounts on various days, he eventually transferred the entire sum into the DEA’s undercover bank account.

The next month, the undercover agent delivered an additional $300,000 cash to Mr. Jackson at his office. Again, the attorney agreed to a 5% up-front fee in return for laundering the money. After depositing the remaining $285,000 into his various bank accounts in various amounts on various days, he eventually transferred the same amount into the DEA’s undercover bank account.

In plea papers, Mr. Jackson admitted he knew of the unlawful purpose of the agreement and joined in it willingly.

Per his plea agreement, he now faces five years in federal prison and a forfeiture money judgment of $20,000 (an amount equal to the amount he collected in fees from the undercover agent).  According to the Texas State Bar’s compulsory discipline policy, he will likely be stripped of his law license.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation with the assistance of  IRS – Criminal Investigations and the Dallas Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney Coker, the Northern District of Texas’ Deputy Criminal Chief, is prosecuting the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Juanita Fielden and Nashonme Johnson. 

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