You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 6, 2016

Former Operator Of Money Transfer Business Charged With Conspiracy To Commit Illegal Structuring Of Financial Transactions

SCRANTON - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a Criminal Information was filed in U.S. District Court in Scranton charging a Northampton County man with conspiring to unlawfully structure financial transactions.

According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, from January 2008 through December 2011, German Ossa Rocha, age 45, conspired with others to utilize a money transmitter service in order to transfer the proceeds from unlawful criminal activity to the Dominican Republic.  Ossa Rocha, together with his then-wife, Mirela Desouza, operated Tropic Express, Inc., a money transfer service business, in Stroudsburg.  The defendants were residents of Northampton County.  Desouza previously pleaded guilty to the same criminal charge and is awaiting sentencing. Both defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2015 on money laundering and illegal structuring charges.   

The government also filed a plea agreement in the case.  As part of the agreement, the government agreed to dismiss the money laundering charge.           

The charges stem from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. Ossa-Rocha faces up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the alleged crime is “structuring,” the conducting of transactions in currency for the purpose of evading federal currency transaction reporting requirements.  Under federal law, money transmitter agents are required to obtain identification, social security numbers and occupations of clients sending money to other countries, in this case the Dominican Republic, in amounts over $1,000.  The defendants ignored the directives. The law also prohibits evading or attempting to evade the reporting requirements or attempting to cause failures to file currency transaction reports.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations.  All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

 

# # #

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated June 6, 2016