Houston socialite among 6 arrested on money laundering charges

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston socialite is in jail caught up in a scandalous money laundering bust involving illegal gambling.

Katherine Le is charged along with five other people, including her own husband, with running this gambling scheme. According to court documents, they made and concealed hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Le is well-known in wealthy social circles around Houston. She is a jewelry designer whose pieces have been sold at Neiman Marcus.

But she's traded in her designer duds for a jail jumpsuit, facing a money laundering charge. Her five alleged partners in crime are in jail too, all facing the same charge.

The Harris County DA says Le, her husband Hao Nguyen, Trinh Nguyen, Bich Nguyen, Jose Palacios-Juarez, and Urixie Palacios-Juarez were operating gamerooms in Harris County. According to court documents, "they did unlawfully, pursuant to a single scheme and continuing course of conduct, knowingly acquire, maintain an interest in, and conceal and possess and transport and receive funds of the value of at least $300,000."

Simply put, the DA's Office says this was a gambling operation.

Police executed a search warrant on Le's home in a gated community earlier this week. The arrests came Tuesday, just days after court documents say her and her husband's divorce was finalized.

All six are being held here at Harris County Jail on $1 million bond each. Sources say lawyers will try to get that reduced Friday.
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