Former North Las Vegas Detention Center Officer Charged with Money Laundering and Making False Statements to the FBI
Las Vegas, Nev. – Ricardo Bonvicin, age 40, of Las Vegas, a former lieutenant with the North Las Vegas Detention Center and Chief Marshal of the North Las Vegas Municipal Court, has been indicted by the Federal Grand Jury on charges that he laundered approximately $40,000 in cash which he believed had been obtained illegally through cheating at video poker, and for making false statements to the FBI during their investigation of the case, announced Steven W. Myhre, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Mr. Bonvicin was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury on Wednesday, June 20, 2007, and charged with six counts of Laundering of Monetary Instruments and one count of False Statements. He was arrested in Las Vegas this morning by Special Agents of the FBI and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leavitt this afternoon for an arraignment and plea hearing. Bonvicin pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on a personal recognizance bond pending trial.
The Indictment alleges that beginning in approximately October 2005, an individual who had prior dealings with Bonvicin who was working at the direction of the FBI ("Individual A"), contacted Bonvicin about an opportunity to "make some money." During a series of telephone calls and a meeting in December 2005, Individual A told Bonvicin that he had some cash that he had earned illegally, and that he needed some help in converting the cash into cashier's checks in order to deposit it into a bank. Individual A told Bonvicin that he had received the cash from video poker machine jackpots that had been illegally obtained through the use of a cheating device. Bonvicin agreed to help Individual A launder the purported illegal gambling proceeds, and agreed to accept a payment of $1,500 for converting the cash into a cashier's check.
The Indictment alleges that on December 15, 2005, Individual A gave Bonvicin $10,000 in cash. Bonvicin took the cash to a Washington Mutual Bank branch and obtained a cashier's check in the amount of $8,500. Bonvicin gave the cashier's check to Individual A and, as agreed upon, kept $1,500 for himself.
It is alleged that on three more occasions between December 22, 2005, and January 10, 2006, Individual A gave Bonvicin cash, which Bonvicin believed had been obtained illegally from video poker machines, and Bonvicin obtained cashier's checks and kept a portion of the cash for himself. Those occasions are:
- On December 22, 2005, Individual A gave Bonvicin $5,800 in cash. The same day, Bonvicin obtained a Washington Mutual Bank cashier's check in the amount of $5,000, which he gave to Individual A, and kept the remaining $800 for himself.
- On December 23, 2005, Individual A gave Bonvicin $7,700 in cash. The same day, Bonvicin obtained a Washington Mutual Bank cashier's check in the amount of $6,727.53, which he gave to Individual A. Bonvicin kept the balance for himself.
- On January 6, 2006, Individual A gave Bonvicin $17,500 in cash. Between about January 6 and January 10, 2006, Bonvicin obtained three Washington Mutual Bank cashier's checks, together totaling $15,000, and gave them to Individual A. Bonvicin kept the remaining $2,500 for himself.
- On about February 1, 2006, Bonvicin agreed to be interviewed by Special Agents from the FBI about these financial transactions. During the interview, Bonvicin claimed he had no knowledge about whether the cash he converted into cashier's checks had been obtained illegally through the use of a cheating device and denied that he had been paid for converting the cash into cashier's checks, when he knew that he had been told that the source of the cash was through the use of a cheating device and that he had received approximately $5,800 for converting the cash into cashier's checks.
If convicted, Mr. Bonvicin faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on each money laundering count, and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false statement count.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Crane M. Pomerantz and Eric Johnson.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.