Dallas Criminal Defense Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Money Laundering
Defendant Knowingly Laundered Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Supposed Drug Trafficking Proceeds
DALLAS --- Patrick Robert Simon, 34, of Dallas, pleaded guilty on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis to a criminal Information charging one count of money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas. Simon, a criminal defense lawyer, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine. His sentencing hearing has been set for May 1, 2013.
According to documents filed in the case, in Fall 2009, Simon met with a confidential informant (CI) to discuss the CI’s desire to put aside proceeds from his drug trafficking activities for his family’s use during his upcoming imprisonment for that drug trafficking. Simon discussed a few ways that he could create an apparently legitimate income stream for the CI’s family, and the fees that he would charge for doing it.
After numerous meetings and continued negotiations, on March 16, 2012, the CI met with Simon at Simon’s law office to transfer the cash. Simon explained the scheme. Simon stated that the CI was going to hire Simon’s firm to handle the appeal of his drug trafficking conviction. Simon stated that he would use his attorney trust fund to write a check every month to the CI’s designee. Simon explained that because it was a legal transaction, he would not have to report it. The three of them agreed that the checks would be written for $7,500, unless a different amount was specified later. The CI gave $110,000 cash to Simon. Simon had a money counter on hand for the purpose of counting the cash. Simon accepted the cash and attempted to use the money counter, but the machine malfunctioned and Simon counted the cash by hand.
During the time that Simon was counting the cash, the three repeatedly discussed the CI’s participation in the drug trade and that the money being counted was from his drug trafficking activities. Simon also instructed the CI on a code to use in all future communications to discuss the scheme. For example, Simon instructed them that if they needed Simon to increase the amount of the monthly check, they were to call Simon and tell him that a specified college football team was playing well, and Simon would increase the monthly check by $1,000 (to $8,500). Similarly, if they wanted to decrease the amount of the monthly check, they were to call Simon and tell him that a specified professional football team was playing poorly, and Simon would decrease the monthly check by $1,000 (to $6,500). Since the cash delivery, and in execution of the money laundering scheme, Simon paid the CI’s designee on a monthly basis.
The case is being investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Deputy Criminal Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Dewald is in charge of the prosecution.
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