A Dallas lawyer has been charged with laundering what he believed to be proceeds of narcotics trafficking, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah.
Rayshun Jackson, the 51-year-old attorney at the helm of The Jackson Law Firm, was arrested Wednesday, charged via criminal complaint with money laundering. He made his initial appearance in federal court Friday morning.
“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. He will now have to face the consequences of his actions.”
“Global drug trafficking depends on criminal money launderers to take ill-gained profits and weave a fictitious web of businesses and bank accounts to appear legitimate. These illicit activities cannot exist without each other,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA in Dallas. “As alleged, Mr. Jackson used his law degree not in the furtherance of justice, but to line his own pockets, a true travesty of the law. The DEA will tirelessly investigate and seek justice for drug money launderers, who enable criminal organizations to profit from those who find themselves addicted to controlled substances.”
According to the complaint, Mr. 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 proceeds.
Asked if he knew anyone capable of laundering around half a million dollars of “drug money,” the dealer stated 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 in August 2020. “I don’t know the ins and outs… he’s the lawyer.”
Two weeks later, the dealer accompanied the undercover agent and a confidential source to Mr. 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 Mr. 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 attorney responded.
The pair allegedly negotiated a 4 percent fee, plus bonus, for the defendant to launder the money. Mr. 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. He said he could get everything up and running in two to four weeks. The pair agreed on a $100,000 trial run, with more to come, and the undercover agent departed the office with the dealer and confidential source.
“This dude has been leading us. We are successful because of him,” the dealer told the undercover after they left. “Ray is the bomb… He’s a thug, he’s just got a law degree.”
In late September, the undercover agent again traveled to Mr. Jackson’s office to deliver $100,000 in cash made from purported drug sales.
Before the undercover turned over the money, Mr. 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.
“I know that we can come across as threatening, but we are not savages,” the undercover agent responded. “So when you are ready to be done, then we’re gonna be done.”
The undercover agent then handed Mr. Jackson a black backpack containing the cash. Mr. 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. Mr. Jackson allegedly kept $5,000, the 4 percent commission plus a 1 percent bonus.
In late November, the undercover agent returned to Mr. Jackson’s office to deliver $300,000 in purported drug sale cash. The undercover agent expressed concern about Mr. Jackson allowing anyone access to his bank accounts, since the amount of money had increased. Mr. Jackson assured the undercover that he had “full control and only control.”
Mr. Jackson allegedly began to transfer the money to the black backpack he’d kept from the prior transaction, then paused to ask if the undercover had taken steps to ensure the money did not smell like narcotics, to which the agent replied in the affirmative. Mr. Jackson continued to stuff cash into the backpack, struggling to zip it closed. When the undercover agent offered to have the confidential source escort Mr. Jackson to his vehicle, the attorney laughed and said, “nobody knows, I take stuff down all the time.”
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 Mr. Jackson had promised. Mr. Jackson once again allegedly kept 5 percent, or $15,000.
A complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Jackson is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 year in federal prison per laundered transaction.
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.