VENEZUELAN SECURITIES COMMISSION OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH EXTORTION
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announce that on October 23, 2010, Rafael Ramos De La Rosa, 61, a corporate trustee from Caracas, Venezuela, was arrested in Miami on extortion charges, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951 and 1952. A bail hearing for Ramos is set for Wednesday, October 27, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton.
According to the allegations in the complaint filed with the court yesterday, Ramos came to Miami to collect a $750,000 extortion payment from Tomas Vasquez, the former owner of a Venezuelan Securities company, Uno Valores. Vasquez allegedly fled Venezuela to Miami after having been warned that he might be arrested. Prior to his departure, Vasquez’ securities brokerage business, Uno Valores, was taken over by the Venezuelan Securities Commission, named Comision Nacional de Valores or C.N.V. Defendant Rafael Ramos De La Rosa was appointed Receiver for Uno Valores.
According to the complaint, between April 2010 and his arrest on Saturday, Ramos attempted to extort $1.5 million from Tomas Vasquez in exchange for writing and submitting a positive report regarding Vasquez company to the Venezuelan Securities Commission. If Vasquez failed to pay the requested amount of $1.5 million, his reputation would be ruined and he could face criminal charges in Venezuela.
According to the complaint, Rafael Ramos traveled from Venezuela to Miami on Thursday, October 21, 2010, to receive the $1.5 million extortion payment. He was arrested by agents from the FBI on Saturday night. At the time of his arrest, he carried a $750,000 check in his pocket, which he had received as partial payment earlier that day.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being handled by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard D. Gregorie.
The FBI encourages any individuals that believe they may have been victimized by a similar extortion scheme or have any information about extortion attempts, please report it to your local FBI office.
A complaint is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.