A Dallas lawyer has been charged with laundering money that he believed was the proceeds of a drug trafficking operation. Rayshun Jackson was arrested and charged on April 14.
“Attorneys swear an oath to conduct themselves with integrity and uphold the rule of law. Mr. Jackson instead chose to ignore his oath by allegedly laundering money for purported narcotics dealers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah. “He explicitly instructed them on how to further violate the law and profit from the devastation of our nation’s opioid epidemic, lining his own pockets in the process.”
According to the complaint, Jackson surfaced during the DEA’s years-long investigation of a large-scale opioid distribution ring, when a high-level dealer offered to introduce an undercover agent to someone who could launder drug money.
Asked if he knew anyone capable of laundering around half a million dollars of “drug money,” the dealer said he knew “business people” who “do this for a fee.”
“He’s gonna clean it. He’s gonna wash it,” the dealer told the undercover agent. “I don’t know the ins and outs… he’s the lawyer.”
The dealer later went with the undercover agent and a confidential source to Jackson’s office on Pacific Avenue in Dallas, where the dealer vouched for the undercover agent’s trustworthiness. Still posing as a drug trafficker, the undercover agent told Jackson that he would need to clean around “half a mil a month.”
“It’s straight dope money,” the undercover agent admitted. “I don’t care where the money comes from,” the 51-year-old head of The Jackson Law Firm responded.
The pair allegedly negotiated a 4 percent fee, plus bonus, for the defendant to launder the money. Jackson suggested setting up a “shell corporation,” as well as a cash business like a coin laundry or car wash that would make it difficult for authorities to track proceeds. The pair agreed on a $100,000 trial run, with more to come.
In late September, the undercover agent again went to Jackson’s office to deliver $100,000 in cash made from purported drug sales.
Before the undercover turned over the money, Jackson tried to clarify his long-term commitment to the drug trafficking organization.
“I can get out at any point, right? Long as ya’ll got your money?” the attorney asked.
The undercover agent then handed Jackson a black backpack containing the cash. Jackson allegedly took the bag and looked inside. He warned the undercover agent and confidential sources to speak in code when they contacted him, and told them he would not put anything substantive in a text.
“You take care of me and I am gonna take care of you,” he told the undercover agent before he left.
The following month, a Jackson Law Firm bank account made three deposits totaling $95,000 into a DEA undercover bank account. Jackson allegedly kept $5,000, the 4% commission plus a 1% bonus.
Over the following three months, a Jackson Law Firm bank account made eleven more deposits totaling $285,000 into undercover DEA bank accounts. Each deposit was less than $50,000, just as Jackson had promised. Jackson once again allegedly kept 5%, or $15,000.
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 20 years in federal prison per each laundered transaction.