Florida Man Sentenced For Role In International Money Laundering Scheme
BOSTON – A Florida man was sentenced yesterday in connection with his role in an international money laundering scheme designed to hide the illicit proceeds of business email compromise (BEC) schemes.
Angel De Jesus Lara Nieto, 26, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In March 2019, Lara pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to engage in money laundering.
According to court documents, Lara and his co-conspirators were members of an organization that engaged in wire fraud, money laundering, and related criminal activity. Lara recruited at least four others to act as money mules for the organization, meaning that each was served as the nominal owner of numerous shell companies and opened bank accounts in that company’s name for the purpose of receiving, withdrawing, and transferring proceeds of criminal activity. Lara himself also engaged in the same conduct—opening shell bank accounts and receiving fraud proceeds—personally laundering over one million dollars in fraudulent funds.
Lara was charged specifically for an incident that occurred in January 2018, where co-conspirators gained access to email accounts belonging to a Massachusetts attorney engaged in real estate closings. Emails sent from Lara’s co-conspirators to recipients in the District of Massachusetts in January and February of 2018 “spoofed” the real estate attorney’s account in a an attempt to cause the purchaser in a real estate transaction to transfer $475,000, which was intended to be used for payment in connection with a real estate transaction, to a shell account of a money mule recruited and controlled by Nieto. Fortunately, that attempted fraud was discovered before the wire transfer took place.
United States Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David J. D’Addio and Amy Harman Burkart of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit are prosecuting the case.