News and Press Releases


August 1, 2006

JOEL MANALANG, 36, a Seattle attorney, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to a felony charge of money laundering in violation of federal law.

MANALANG is a real estate attorney who operates an escrow business. Court papers allege that during 2003 and 2005, MANALANG received large quantities of cash from clients under circumstances indicating to MANALANG that the money was derived from drug trafficking. The money was received by MANALANG in shoe boxes and duffle bags. MANALANG thereafter engaged in financial transactions with these monies assisting drug traffickers in the acquisition of real estate. On one occasion, MANALANG stored several hundred thousand dollars cash in his residence, before returning it to others. In pleading guilty, MANALANG acknowledged that he knew the funds in which he was dealing were derived from criminal activity, and that his actions were intended to conceal the true nature of the funds and from whom they were obtained, and to evade currency reporting requirements imposed by law.

By engaging in a financial transaction using drug proceeds, MANALANG committed money laundering in violation of federal law.

This offense of money laundering is punishable by imprisonment for up to twenty years, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and a period of supervised release to follow imprisonment of 2 to 3 years.

Sentencing is set before the Honorable John C. Coughenour on November 17, 2006 at 9:00 a.m.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Internal Revenue Service.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.

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