News and Press Releases

Couple Charged with Operating Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business

February 21, 2006

Reno, Nev. - A man and his wife have been indicted by the Federal Grand Jury in Reno on charges of conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business from an apartment in Carson City, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.

JUAN CARLOS GONZALEZ-RUIZ, age 31, and ESTELLE GONZALEZ, age 28, both of Carson City, Nevada, were indicted on Wednesday, February 15, 2006, and are each charged with one count of Conducting an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business. GONZALEZ-RUIZ is also charged with one count of Alien in Possession of a Firearm. If convicted, they face up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the operation of the unlicensed money transmitting charge. GONZALEZ-RUIZ also faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the unlawful firearm possession charge.

The Indictment alleges that between about November 16, 2005, and February 3, 2006, the defendants conducted, controlled, managed, supervised, directed, or owned all or part of an unlicensed money transmitting business. The defendants were allegedly operating the business from an apartment located at 2710 Menlo Drive in Carson City and were charging five percent interest for every $100 of funds transferred to Mexico.

The Indictment also alleges that on February 6, 2006, defendant GONZALEZ-RUIZ, being an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States, possessed a Ruger .22 caliber semiautomatic pistol which had been shipped in interstate commerce.

JUAN GONZALEZ-RUIZ was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents on February 3, 2006, and is currently in custody awaiting trial. ESTELLE GONZALEZ was summoned, and is scheduled to make an initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on March 16, 2006, at 3:00 p.m.

The case is being investigated by ICE and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ronald C. Rachow.

Persons who have information on suspected illegal money transmitters may call the ICE Toll-Free Tipline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423).

The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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