MORTGAGE BROKER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO LAUNDER CASH FOR DRUG DEALERS
Assisted Drug Ring by Hiding Cash Transactions and Submitting Fake Documents for Property Purchases
TODD LOVE, 48 , of Seattle, Washington pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle Wednesday August 9, 2006 to Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. LOVE, a mortgage broker at Seattle Mortgage Advisors LLC, admitted that he assisted three drug dealers with investments in property, knowing that the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash used as the down payments were the proceeds of illegal drug dealing. LOVE faces up to twenty years in prison when sentenced on November 1, 2006. LOVE has agreed to forfeit $149,500 in cash as part of a $600,000 forfeiture.
According to the plea agreement, in September 2003, convicted drug kingpin Robert Kesling purchased a Woodinville home for $722,869. LOVE served as mortgage broker on the transaction. Kesling gave LOVE $176,600 in cash for the down payment on the home. LOVE knew that Kesling made his income leading a drug organization that smuggled marijuana into the U.S. from Canada and cocaine into Canada from the U.S. To assist Kesling in hiding the origin of the money, LOVE had escrow agent and attorney Joel Manalang place the funds in his escrow account. LOVE created false documents indicating that the money was a gift to Kesling from his father. LOVE also created a letter from a local CPA firm claiming that Kesling was in the property management business and falsely indicated the firm had done his taxes for three years.
In a second transaction detailed in the plea agreement, LOVE assisted another accused drug dealer, Bernard R. Casey. Casey is an alleged drug dealer who worked under Joshua Macke. Macke replaced Kesling in the drug organization following Kesling’s arrest. In August 2005, Casey wanted to invest some of his drug proceeds in property. LOVE had Manalang purchase a cashiers check for $50, 485.70 to use as the down payment on some water view lots in Tacoma. LOVE created false documents alleging Casey was employed as VP of Field Sales at Seattle Video Conference Center. LOVE’s mother worked at the business and would falsely verify employment.
Finally in a third transaction, LOVE took several hundred thousand dollars in cash from Macke for future property investments. LOVE provided the cash to Manalang asking that it be placed in the escrow account. Fearing IRS scrutiny, Manalang did not deposit the cash. LOVE asked for $50,000 from the cache, which he then spent for his own expenses, knowing it was the proceeds of drug trafficking.
Manalang pleaded guilty last week to Money Laundering and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour on November 17, 2006. Kesling was sentenced in December 2005 to seventeen years in prison. Casey is scheduled to go to trial in October 2006 for Conspiracy to Distribute Marijuana and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. Macke is scheduled to go to trial in September 2006 for Conspiracy to Import Marijuana, Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana, and Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering.
The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan M. Roe and Ronald J. Friedman.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.