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Press Release

Jury Convicts California Man for Money Laundering Scheme to Hide Drug Proceeds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of Illinois

Rock Island, Ill. – A jury deliberated for less than an hour yesterday before returning guilty verdicts on all counts against Gianco Sheridan, 27, aka “Geo,” of Los Angeles. Sheridan was charged with 32 counts of money laundering to conceal drug proceeds and one count of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds. Sentencing is scheduled on May 26, 2016, in Rock Island, before U.S. District Judge Sara Darrow. 

At trial, which began on Monday afternoon, Jan. 25, the government presented evidence that Sheridan laundered money to hide proceeds from a marijuana trafficking operation tied to a sham company, Trust Auto Sales, in Rock Island, Ill.  The purported used car sales and repair business, located at 801 11th Street, was owned by Joel McCalebb, aka Omar Mukhtar, a co-defendant in the case. Over the course of the scheme, from August 2013 to June 2014, numerous packages, with fictitious California return addresses, were delivered to Trust Auto Sales. The packages, which contained high grade marijuana from two different medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles, were arranged by another co-defendant, Quisontro Rahman Hart, 35, aka “BJ,” of Los Angeles.            

As part of the scheme, evidence showed that McCalebb made cash deposits into bank accounts opened by Sheridan, at the request of Hart, Sheridan’s cousin. The sums of cash were from McCalebb and Hart’s distribution and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Between July 2013 and April 2014, the government’s evidence showed that McCalebb made approximately 83 cash deposits to accounts at banks that also have branches in the Los Angeles area. None of the accounts were in McCalebb’s name, but were in the name of Sheridan or a business account held by Sheridan.  All of the deposits were under $10,000. Sheridan would withdraw the cash, often on the same day as the deposit, and give the money to Hart. As a result of the scheme, the total amount of money laundered through Sheridan’s accounts was approximately $230,000 from August 2013 to June 2014.         

McCalebb, 52, of Rock Island, pled guilty in September 2015, to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and was sentenced on Jan. 7, 2016, to serve two years in federal prison. Co-defendant Hart entered a plea of guilty in August 2015 to one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and is scheduled to be sentenced on Mar. 10, 2016.  Both men have remained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service since their respective arrests.

Following the jury’s return of the guilty verdicts, Judge Darrow allowed Sheridan to remain on release, under conditions of bond, until sentencing.

The statutory penalty for each count of money laundering and for conspiracy to commit money laundering is up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.  

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Linda Mott and Don Allegro.  The charges were investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Quad City Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

Updated January 27, 2016

Drug Trafficking