States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|November 12, 2010||
COLOMBIAN NATIONAL INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY SENTENCED TO 80 MONTHS IN FEDERAL PRISON
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that FRANCISCO DARIO DUQUE-DUQUE, 49, of Medellin, Colombia, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to 80 months of imprisonment for his role in an international money laundering conspiracy.
This matter stems from “Operation Babbling Brook,” a Drug Enforcement Administration-led investigation into suspected money laundering by a Colombian-based organization. According to court documents and statements made in court, the organization employed operatives in the United States and funneled millions of dollars in drug proceeds from the U.S. to Medellin, Colombia. The investigation, which utilized a variety of traditional and sophisticated investigative techniques, including court-authorized interception of international e-mail, disclosed that the money laundering organization used direct deposits of cash into third-party bank accounts, as well as payment of third-party debt obligations to move cash drug proceeds from the New York metropolitan area out of the country. The organization also used “stored value cards,” which function like debit cards and enabled cardholders to deposit U.S. dollars into accounts locally, to be withdrawn later from banks in Medellin as Colombian pesos.
More than $7 million in drug proceeds were laundered through this scheme.
DUQUE has been detained since his arrest in Colombia on August 20, 2008. On January 26, 2010, DUQUE pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He will be deported upon completion of his sentence.
On June 11, 2008, a federal grand jury in Bridgeport returned a superseding indictment charging DUQUE and others, including Robert E. Hodgins and the Texas-based business where he served as the Chief Executive Officer and President, Virtual Money, Inc., with money laundering conspiracy and related charges. Hodgins is being sought by law enforcement.
As to Hodgins and Virtual Money, Inc., U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Bridgeport Resident Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys H. Gordon Hall and Rahul Kale.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods