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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Six arrested for conspiracy to commit international money laundering and structuring

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that six individuals have been arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit international money laundering and structuring financial transactions.  

On April 2, 2013, Special Agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security Investigations arrested five people in Alaska and one in Florida. Those arrested included Claritza Natera, 44, Joel Paredes Henriquez, 32, Nerido Paredes Henriquez, 38, Alberto Acosta, 32, and Carlita Acosta, 34, of Anchorage, Alaska, and Concepcion Egea, 56, of Orlando, Florida. 

According to the indictment, between approximately January 2010 and December 2011, the defendants conspired with one another and with unindicted co-conspirators Randin Paredes Henriquez and Joel Santana-Pierna, who were previously indicted in another case, to transfer large sums of money from Alaska to the Dominican Republic. The money was the proceeds of a larger conspiracy allegedly perpetrated by Santana-Pierna and others to distribute cocaine.  The alleged co-conspirators noted in the indictment, wired more than $175,000 in illegally obtained funds from Alaska to the Dominican Republic over a two year period.  Additionally, in December 2011, Claritza Natera and others transported $55,720 in cash on board a plane from Alaska to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in an attempt to then escort the funds to the Dominican Republic.

The indictment further alleges that each of the conspirators attempted to evade federal financial transaction reporting requirements by making multiple deposits to their bank accounts that were below the reporting threshold. These deposits were often made within hours or even minutes of one another.  Under federal law, a Currency Transaction Report must be filed with the IRS by a financial institution for any currency transaction over $10,000, and it is illegal to structure transactions in order to avoid this filing requirement.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephanie Courter and Thomas Bradley, who presented the case to the grand jury, the conspiracy charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison as well as a $500,000 fine, and each individual structuring charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison as well as a fine.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history of the defendant.  

The case was investigated under the purview of the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is made up of personnel from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Anchorage Police Department.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt.  A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Updated January 29, 2015