Miami Man Found Guilty in $13.5 Million International Money Laundering Scheme
WASHINGTON – Rodrigo Molina, 33, a Brazilian national who resided in Miami, was found guilty by a federal jury on 11 of 16 charged counts related to a $13.5 million money laundering conspiracy, Acting Assistant Attorney General Rita M. Glavin of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of the Southern District of Florida announced.
Molina was found guilty on Feb. 25, 2009, following a seven-day jury trial in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The indictment also charged Marcos Neto Macchione, 32, a Brazilian national residing in Avenura, Fla. Macchione pleaded guilty in June 2008 to the conspiracy to launder $13.5 million in fraud proceeds. The indictment followed the arrests of Molina and Macchione in Florida as well as 18 individuals in Brazil, including the alleged leader of this criminal organization, Doron Mukamal, as well as his partners, associates and employees. Molina and Macchione were responsible for laundering the funds illegally obtained through the telemarketing scheme.
According to evidence presented at trial, the leaders of the Brazilian telemarketing scheme (the Brazilian defendants) offered to purchase nearly worthless stock from foreign investors by offering them much more than the stocks were worth. The Brazilian defendants used well-designed Web sites to mislead their victims into believing that they were legitimate securities brokers. In order to carry out their scheme, the Brazilian defendants stole the identities of real U.S. broker dealers and created others that were fictitious. In many instances, the Brazilian defendants even created false governmental entities that touted the legitimacy of the fictitious brokers. Additionally, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone providers were used so that the fictitious brokers had U.S. phone numbers even though they were located in Brazil and other countries.
Trial evidence showed that shortly before the purported stock transactions were to take place, the Brazilian defendants would require the victims to pay various advance fees that purportedly were needed to pay for taxes, escrow payments or other services not actually required in legitimate transactions. Once these "fees" were wired into bank accounts, mostly located in Miami, the Brazilian defendants simply abandoned the transactions and the victims lost their money. Molina and Macchione laundered the money through bank accounts in the United States.
Molina faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on five counts of money laundering, 10 years on an additional five counts of money laundering, and twenty years on the conspiracy charge, in addition to possible fines and terms of supervised release.
In February 2009, Macchione was sentenced to 70 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit bank accounts containing approximately $1.8 million in criminal proceeds.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Steve Linick and Trial Attorney Matthew A. Klecka of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, New Jersey Bureau of Securities, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.