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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

Friday, December 20, 2013

Financial Advisor, Jabari Ragas, Charged With Money Laundering And Tax Fraud

JABARI RAGAS, age 40, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged in a two count bill of information today with money laundering and filing a false tax return, announced U. S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite, Jr.

According to court documents, RAGAS was employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (“Ameriprise”) as a registered broker and investment adviser.  In early 2006, a client of RAGAS indicated to him that he wished to open a Simplified Employee Pension (“SEP”) account to allow him to contribute towards his retirement. The client made contributions from 2006 – 2009.

Without authorization, RAGAS began moving money from the Ameriprise SEP account into an account ending in X0686 that was controlled by him.  On June 26, 2009, RAGAS used an interstate wire to transfer $40,000 from this Ameriprise SEP account to that personal bank account ending in X0686.

The client later checked the account balance and inquired as to why the account balance was lower than it should have been.  RAGAS falsely told the client that the funds had been transferred to an investment account of a different financial institution located in Texas.  RAGAS was then asked by the client to supply him with written account statements showing the balance, account number, and institution name. RAGAS then supplied the client with a fraudulent account statement for an account that did not exist, along with a fraudulent balance.

After using the interstate wire to transfer $40,000 from the Ameriprise account of the client to his account ending in X0686, RAGAS then allegedly committed money laundering on June 29, 2009, by further transferring $20,000 into a different account controlled by RAGAS ending in X6565.  

Additionally, on October 12, 2008, RAGAS signed and filed a 2007 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (Form 1040) with the Internal Revenue Service. The tax return allegedly did not report approximately $288,000 in income.

If convicted, RAGAS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years, on the money laundering count, and a maximum term of imprisonment of three years, on the tax count. RAGAS also faces a fine of $250,000.00 or the greater of twice the gross gain to the defendant or twice the gross loss to any person as to the money laundering count. As to the tax count, RAGAS faces a fine of $100,000 together with the costs of prosecution. RAGAS faces a three year term of supervised release as to  the money laundering count and a one  year term of supervised release on the tax count, following any term of imprisonment. 

U.S. Attorney Polite reiterated that the bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service and the prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Jon Maestri.

(Download Bill of Information )

Updated November 18, 2014