US Indicts 14 In Alleged Drug and Money Laundering Scheme Involving Horses

June 13, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“By Samuel Rubenfeld

A federal grand jury in Texas voted to return an indictment against 14 defendants in connection with a conspiracy to launder Los Zetas drug money by buying, training, breeding and racing American quarter horses in the U.S.

Among those charged was Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, the leader of Los Zetas, along with his brothers, Oscar Omar Trevino Morales and Jose Trevino-Morales, the Justice Department said.

The indictment, unsealed Tuesday, charges the defendants with one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. It accuses the Zetas of directing part of the cash generated from selling drugs to buy, train, breed and race quarter horses in the U.S.

Miguel and Oscar sent their brother Jose and his wife cash to operate Tremor Enterprises LLC, the business they created for the horse training, the indictment said.

“This case is a prime example of the ability of Mexican drug cartels to establish footholds in legitimate U.S. industries and highlights the serious threat money laundering causes to our financial system,” said Rich Weber, chief of the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division, in a statement (pdf).

“This attack on one of the Zeta’s most profitable money laundering schemes is an essential front in the war on drugs and will financially disrupt and help dismantle this violent international criminal organization,” Weber said.

The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of several quarter horses, including Tempting Dash, winner of the Dash for Cash at Lone Star Park race track in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Oct. 24, 2009; Mr. Piloto, $1 million All American Futurity winner at Ruidoso Downs on Labor Day, 2010; Dashin Follies; Coronita Cartel; and Separate Fire.

It also seeks the forfeiture of farm and ranch equipment; horse racing equipment; property in Lexington, Okla. and Bastrop County, Texas; and money contained in bank accounts used in the scheme.

Earlier Tuesday, authorities arrested seven of the 14 defendants, including Jose Trevino-Morales and his wife, Zulema Trevino, in Lexington, Okla. Also arrested were Fernando Solis Garcia in Ruidoso, N.M.; Carlos Miguel Nayen Borbolla, Adrian Farias and Felipe Alejandro Quintero in Los Angeles; and Eusevio Maldonado Huitron in Austin, Texas. They remain in federal custody, the Justice Department said.

None of those arrested could be reached for comment.

The New York Times, in a blockbuster 4,000-word story, reported earlier Tuesday about the scheme. The Times reported that an FBI affidavit said the Zetas channeled about $1 million a month into buying quarter horses in the U.S, and that authorities were tipped off in January 2010, when the cartel paid more than $1 million in a single day for two broodmares.

In its report, the paper said it became aware of Tremor’s activity in December 2011 while reporting about the Zetas and learned of the U.S. government probe last month, but agreed to hold the story until Tuesday morning’s arrests.

Among those charged but not arrested is Francisco Antonio Colorado Cessa of Veracruz, Mexico. Colorado Cessa is accused in the indictment of acting as a straw buyer for various horses. In connection with the indictment, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control slapped Kingpin Act sanctions [OFAC SDN Sanctions] on him that label Colorado Cessa as a narcotics trafficker.

“Our action cuts Colorado Cessa off from the U.S. financial system and it is yet another signal to Miguel and Omar Trevino Morales, and the Zetas, that OFAC will target their financial and business network wherever it is found,” said Adam Szubin, director of OFAC, in the statement.

The Zetas were designated under the Kingpin Act as a narcotics trafficker by the president in 2009. The group is notorious for its violence; officials blamed the Zetas for a dump of 49 headless and handless bodies in May along a Mexican highway. Since 2009, OFAC has designated several of its top leaders and dozens of its lieutenants.”

US v. Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, et al. – Federal Criminal Indictment

18 U.S.C. § 1956

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Eric Elegado, Charmagne Elegado, Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto Indicted for Allegedly Committing the Following Federal Crimes: Conspiracy, Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Criminal Forfeiture

February 23, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 21, 2012 released the following:

“Local Real Estate Agent and Eight Other Industry Professionals Charged in Massive Mortgage Fraud Scheme That Caused at Least $15 Million in Losses

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced the unsealing of an indictment today charging a local real estate agent, Eric Elegado, and eight other mortgage industry professionals—Charmagne Elegado, Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto, with multiple counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and criminal forfeiture. According to court proceedings, these defendants engaged in a multi-million-dollar mortgage fraud scheme that targeted vulnerable, low-income immigrants in San Diego. All of the defendants were arraigned today in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge William McCurine, Jr.

According to the indictment, Eric Elegado owned and operated real estate and mortgage brokerage businesses in San Diego and employed Theodore Cohen, Minh Nguyen, Regidor Pacal, Alexander V. Garcia, Roman Macabulos, Ramin Lotfi, and Roderick Huerto. These defendants conspired together and with others to obtain mortgage loans for unqualified buyers by falsifying and assisting others in falsifying the employment and salary information on the loan documents. According to the indictment, Eric Elegado directed the mortgage loans to be processed through his wife, Charmagne Elegado, who was working at the subprime mortgage lender. In order to further the fraudulent scheme, the defendants allegedly created and caused others to create false financial records for the purpose of verifying income listed on the false loan applications, such as W-2s, bank statements, rental income statements, ownership records, and bank deposit documents. According to court proceedings, the defendants caused these fraudulent loan documents to be submitted to mortgage lenders in order to induce the lenders to loan more than $50 million in mortgage loans. As a result of their scheme to defraud, defendants and others caused the mortgage companies, lending institutions, and financial institutions to lose more than $15 million.

This case is being investigated by special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During today’s court proceedings, the government moved to detain Minh Nguyen without bail. A detention hearing is set for February 24, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., before Magistrate Judge William V. Gallo. A personal appearance bond in the amount of $75,000, secured by the signatures of two financially responsible adults, was set for defendant Charmagne Elegado. A bond in the amount of $100,000, secured by real property, was set for defendant Eric Elegado. A personal appearance bond in the amount of $50,000, secured by the signatures of two financially responsible adults, was set for defendants Alexander V. Garcia and Ramin Lotfi. A personal appearance bond in the amount of $35,000, secured by the signatures of two financially responsible adults, was set for defendants Roman Macabulos and Regidor Pacal. A bond in the amount of $50,000, secured by a corporate surety, was set for defendant Theodore Cohen.

The defendants are next scheduled to be in court before United States District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia for a motion hearing on March 28, 2012, at 2:00 p.m.

Criminal Case No. 12CR0404-AJB

DEFENDANTS

Charmagne Elegado Age: 47 Escondido, CA
Eric Elegado Age: 47 Escondido, CA
Theodore Cohen Age: 54 San Diego, CA
Minh Nguyen Age: 28 San Marcos, CA
Regidor Pacal Age: 51 San Diego, CA
Alexander V. Garcia Age: 38 San Diego, CA
Roman Macabulos Age: 38 San Diego, CA
Ramin Lotfi Age: 36 San Diego, CA
Roderick Huerto Age: 34 San Diego, CA

SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Count 1: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349—Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud
Maximum penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the gross pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

Counts 2-7: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343—Wire Fraud
Maximum penalties per count: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine or twice the gross pecuniary gain or twice the gross pecuniary loss (whichever is greatest), $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

Count 8: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h)—Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
Maximum penalties: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

Counts 9-12: Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957—Money Laundering
Maximum penalties per count: 10 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, three years of supervised release.

INVESTIGATING AGENCY
Federal Bureau of Investigation

An indictment itself is not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.