Four Individuals Sentenced To Prison For International Fraud And Money Laundering Scheme Involving Sale Of Gold
Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven has sentenced Michael Skillern (49, Houston, Texas) to 10 years’ imprisonment, Jon Craig Nelson (69, Houston, Texas) to 8 years’ imprisonment, Naadir Cassim (40, Barcelona, Spain and Orlando, Florida) to 5 years’ imprisonment, and Adriana Maria Camargo, a/k/a Adriana Palomino (37, Barcelona, Spain) to 2 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and mail fraud. Some were also sentenced for wire fraud and illegal monetary transactions. The Court also ordered Cassim and Camargo to pay a money judgment of approximately $3.3 million. Nelson and Skillern were ordered to pay a money judgment of approximately $7.3 million, the proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.
These individuals were convicted on February 3, 2016.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, from August 2011 through February 2014, Cassim, Nelson, Skillern, and Camargo, along with others, engaged in a fraud scheme where they directed and caused the sale of purported but nonexistent gold ore or gold doré from mines owned or controlled by them, through a company called OWN GOLD, LLC. The conspirators then caused victims to wire funds to bank accounts controlled by them. The conspirators used the victims' funds to perpetuate the scheme and for their own personal enrichment. Trial evidence established that approximately 440 victims wired over $7.3 million to the conspirators during the course of the fraud scheme.
“The dismantling of this transnational criminal organization is the result of international law enforcement agencies working together,” said Susan L. McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. “HSI will continue to leverage our unique international authority to protect victims and bring criminals to justice.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Secret Service, with assistance from the City of London Police, Spanish National Police, and U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sara C. Sweeney and Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.