Miami Man Pleads Guilty to Multimillion-Dollar Scheme to Defraud Commercial Lenders and U.S. Export-Import Bank
A Miami man pleaded guilty today for his role in a scheme to defraud two commercial lenders and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) out of more than $11 million.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida and Inspector General Michael McCarthy of EXIM made the announcement.
Guillermo A. Sanchez-Badia, 61, pleaded today before U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard of the Southern District of Florida in Miami to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Sentencing is scheduled for June 3 before Judge Lenard.
According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, from 2007 through 2012, Sanchez and his co-conspirators utilized companies they controlled to create fictitious invoices for sales of merchandise that never occurred. These invoices were sold to two Miami-area commercial lenders in a process called “factoring,” which allowed the conspirators to receive cash for approximately 90 percent of the value of the merchandise listed on the fake invoices, according to the plea. Sanchez admitted that, in order to continue the scheme, he and his co-conspirators created additional fictitious invoices, transferred the funds they received through numerous bank accounts under their control and, in a Ponzi-style scheme, used a portion of the new proceeds to pay off prior factored invoices.
Sanchez admitted that when the Miami lenders refused to extend further credit, he and his co-conspirators created false invoices and shipping documents to obtain a loan guaranteed by the EXIM. Rather than acquiring, selling and shipping American manufactured goods as required for an EXIM guaranteed loan, Sanchez and his co-conspirators used the loan proceeds to pay off earlier factored invoices, thereby extending the scheme, and kept the balance of the loan proceeds for themselves, Sanchez admitted. The factoring loans and the EXIM-guaranteed loan ultimately defaulted, causing more than $11 million dollars in losses to the lenders and the United States, according to the plea.
Five other individuals have been convicted for their roles in this scheme. Isabel C. Sanchez, 36, of Miami, the daughter of Sanchez-Badia, and Gustavo Giral, 38, of Miami, who were charged in the same indictment as Sanchez-Badia, pleaded guilty on Feb. 26, 2016, for their participation in this scheme to defraud, and will be sentenced on May 13, 2016. Isabel Sanchez created the false sales and shipping documents and arranged for the transfer of criminal proceeds through over 50 bank accounts. Giral assisted in circulating the fraudulent documents and in converting loan proceeds to currency, facilitating the money-laundering concealment by making the source of funds more difficult to trace. Freddy Moreno-Beltran, 43, of Bogota, Colombia; Ricardo Beato, 62, of Miami; and Jorge Amad, 48, of Miramar, Florida, were separately charged and have each pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme. According to admissions in their plea agreements, Moreno-Beltran owned Clientric, a company in Colombia, which purportedly purchased goods from companies that the defendants controlled. Beato and Amad owned Approach Technologies International, a company offering call center software. The conspirators admitted that they told the EXIM that Approach Technologies International had sold more than $1 million in American manufactured software and equipment to Clientric, which was false, in order to obtain an EXIM-guaranteed loan. Moreno-Beltran and Beato were each sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $1,951,643.05 in restitution.
Ultimately, the EXIM-guaranteed loan defaulted, causing a loss to the United States of nearly $2 million.
The EXIM Office of Inspector General investigated the case, and Senior Litigation Counsel Patrick Donley and Trial Attorney William Bowne of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.