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Press Release

Baton Rouge Man Pleads Guilty to Transferring More than $4.6 Million in Criminal Proceeds as Part of an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that DONOVAN J. BARKER, age 59, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.  As a result of his conviction, BARKER faces a significant term of imprisonment, a fine, and a period of supervised release.

According to admissions made during his plea, between September of 2012 and May of 2016, individuals known to the defendant conspired to distribute carisoprodol, tramadol, and other substances, by shipping the pills in bulk into the United States, to be broken down into smaller quantities that would then be shipped to individual purchasers.  For a time, BARKER helped the individuals by accepting the bulk drug shipments at his home and mailing the drugs out to individual purchasers.  In January of 2013, law enforcement agents seized more than 50,000 dosage units of tramadol and carisoprodol from BARKER’s residence and advised him to stop assisting the effort to import the substances into the United States.

Following the January 2013 seizure, BARKER began operating as a money transmitter for the individuals involved in the scheme.  As drug sales were generated, BARKER would receive the proceeds of the sales (i.e., accept payments for the drugs from the individual buyers) and wire the proceeds to other individuals and businesses.  BARKER formed and operated several business entities, including Quantum Information Technologies, Caring Partners 1, LLC, Don Western Sky, LLC, Life Positive Services, LLC, and Healthy Life 1, LLC that he used to assist the scheme.

In total, from October 2012 through February 2016, BARKER through his businesses, received more than $4.6 million in payments from individuals all across the United States.  This included more than $1.3 million in credit card payments made to BARKER via electronic transfer, and more than $750,000 in checks and money orders, from individuals all across the United States who had purchased controlled substances and other substances over the internet.  As BARKER received the money, he wired the vast majority of the money out to other individuals and businesses, through hundreds of transactions.  For instance, BARKER paid the shipping charges incurred by members of the conspiracy, which exceeded $100,000.  Moreover, on more than two hundred (200) different occasions, BARKER transmitted proceeds from the operation to foreign bank accounts in the Philippines, India, China, and Canada.  Accordingly, BARKER was unlawfully and knowingly operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, in violation of federal criminal statutes enacted to combat the use of money transmitting businesses to transfer the proceeds of criminal activity.

U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin stated, "Drug traffickers are very creative and use many resources to distribute their products to our citizens across the country.  We have resources too. This investigation and conviction yet again demonstrates our willingness to use those resources to dismantle their networks and keep dangerous substances off of our streets.  I want to congratulate our prosecutors and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners on their outstanding efforts in obtaining this conviction."

Thomas J. Holloman, III, Special Agent in Charge of IRS – Criminal Investigations, stated “The Special Agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation are an integral part of drug investigations that involve the laundering of money through sophisticated means such as those implemented by Donovan Barker.  More and more often individuals are using the internet and access to international banks in an attempt to keep their misdeeds hidden from the view of law enforcement.  However, the dissection of complex money laundering schemes is an area of expertise in which IRS- CI ‎ excels.  It is our hope that Barker’s drug distribution and money laundering operation were fully dismantled as a result of this investigation, and he will face the consequences for his role in facilitating the trafficking of illegal substances into our communities.” 

This matter is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with critical assistance from the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions.  The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as a Deputy Criminal Chief within the Criminal Division, and AUSAs Kashan Pathan and Robert Piedrahita.  The investigation received valuable assistance from the Baton Rouge Police Department, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement—Homeland Security Investigations, and the Louisiana State Police, and other federal, state, and local agencies.

The investigation is another effort by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Program that was established in 1982 to mount a comprehensive attack against organized drug traffickers.  Today, the OCDETF Program is the centerpiece of the United States Attorney General’s drug strategy to reduce the availability of drugs by disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations and money laundering organizations and related criminal enterprises.  The OCDETF Program operates nationwide and combines the resources and unique expertise of numerous federal, state, and local agencies in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. 

Updated May 31, 2019

Prescription Drugs
Financial Fraud