WEST SEATTLE MORTGAGE BROKER SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
Helped Dealers Invest Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Real Estate
TODD LOVE, 50, of Seattle, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering. LOVE admitted in his August 2006, plea agreement that he assisted drug kingpin Robert Kesling and other drug dealers with property purchases involving drug proceeds. At sentencing, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez told him, “when people like you facilitate (money laundering), it is no different than putting all those drugs on the street.”
According to LOVE’s plea agreement, he assisted convicted drug dealer Robert Kesling with the purchase of a $722,869 house in Woodinville, Washington. LOVE acted as Kesling’s mortgage broker. LOVE accepted the $190,000 cash down payment from Kesling and gave it to attorney Joel Manalang who placed it in his escrow account. LOVE knew the cash was proceeds from drug trafficking. Manalang did not file the required forms on the cash transaction. LOVE fabricated documents to help Kesling qualify for a mortgage. LOVE created a false letter from Kesling’s father claiming the cash had been a gift. LOVE created a letter from a local CPA firm claiming Kesling was in the property management business and had employed the CPA firm to do his taxes. In fact Kesling was never a client of the firm.
In a second transaction in the summer of 2005, LOVE falsified documents to facilitate another real estate purchase by Bernard Casey, a different drug dealer. LOVE arranged for Manalang to again move money through his escrow account for the sale. LOVE falsified paperwork claiming Casey had worked for a video conference center, when in fact he had never worked there. LOVE used a relative who was employed at the video conference center to falsely verify the employment. The drug dealer purchased two water view lots in Tacoma, Washington for more than $290,000.
Additionally, a third drug dealer, Joshua Macke, gave LOVE several hundred thousand dollars to invest in real estate. Again, LOVE passed the money on the Manalang to deposit in his escrow account. During the summer of 2005, LOVE requested $50,000 back from Manalang. LOVE used this money for his own expenses, knowing that it was the proceeds of drug trafficking.
At sentencing Assistant United States Attorney Susan Roe noted that, “there was nothing honest and above board” about LOVE’s business. “Money laundering and mortgage fraud permeated his business,” she said, noting that LOVE even had a light box in his office to help him forge signatures. LOVE used his mother and girlfriend to lie for him.
In imposing the 18 month sentence Judge Martinez noted that three lawyers (including Manalang) who were convicted of money laundering offenses, were also sentenced to 18 months in prison. The drug dealers convicted in this case face significantly longer sentences. Robert Kesling was sentenced Decmber 9, 2005 to 17 years in prison. Joshua Macke was sentenced July 13, 2007 to six years in prison. Bernard Casey will be sentenced November 16, 2007.
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan 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.