News and Press Releases

Sting Operation Nets Accountant Setting up Sham Companies to Hide Illegal Proceeds of Crime

October 6, 2006

DUONG TUAN TRAN, 51, of Seattle, Washington, was sentenced today to five months in prison and five months of home confinement, and two years of supervised release for Attempted Money Laundering. TRAN was a licensed bookkeeper and notary public in Seattle’s Rainier Valley who came to the attention of law enforcement when his name came up in connection with several marijuana trafficking/money laundering investigations. At sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik noted the harm wrought by those who would assist drug dealers saying, “ your actions you may have been destroying other families out there. Money used to buy drugs doesn’t go to feed or clothe the children.... There are guns going north (in the drug trade) that are used by bad people to do bad things. There are real tragedies that you are willing to help occur by your actions.”

Due to TRAN’s connection to other investigations and some suspicious conduct in connection with an investigation in 2004, federal investigators targeted TRAN in a sting operation. During recorded meetings, TRAN devised a scheme through which a confidential informant could launder his supposed drug trafficking proceeds. TRAN incorporated a front company for the source, registered it with the state, filled out tax information and told the confidential source how to deposit funds into a company bank account to make them appear legitimate. “The conduct here is just shocking,” Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg told the court. “Within minutes of meeting this guy who just walked in off the street saying he had hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, Tran told him how to do it.”
“A central component of any criminal organization is the ability to move and launder illicit proceeds," said Leigh Winchell, Special Agent in Charge for the ICE office of investigations in Seattle. "Our investigations will continue to focus on the source of the illicit funds that drive these criminal organizations.”

TRAN was arrested in March 2006, and pleaded guilty July 10, 2006.

The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.

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

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