Convicted Ponzi Schemer and Alleged Conspirator Indicted for Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme and Obstruction of Justice
NEWARK, N.J. – A Hudson County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role as a member of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the importation and distribution of hundreds of kilograms of fentanyl analogues, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
Sean Tighe, 48, of Kearny, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton in Newark federal court to a second superseding indictment charging him with drug trafficking conspiracy and international promotional money laundering conspiracy.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Tighe admitted that from March 2014 through September 2020, he and others agreed to import and distribute various controlled substances and controlled substance analogues, including fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, synthetic cathinones, also known as “bath salts,” such as ethylone, and ketamine. Members of the conspiracy placed orders with a source in China and agreed to distribute, and did distribute, the controlled substances and analogues in New Jersey. Tighe admitted that other members of the conspiracy provided him with controlled substances and analogues pressed into small pills for distribution.
The defendants allegedly paid for the drugs they imported by sending, or recruiting others to send, international wire payments to the Chinese sources of supply. Tighe admitted to having been responsible for transferring at least $14,000 to China from April 2014 to June 2014.
The count of drug trafficking conspiracy carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The count of international promotional money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 19, 2024.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of Homeland Security Investigations Newark, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Alfonso, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked HSI in Philadelphia, the FBI – Newark Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Newark Police Department, and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sammi Malek of the Criminal Division in Newark and Trial Attorneys Stephen Sola and Alexander Hasapidis-Sferra of the Justice Department’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section. The case is being prosecuted jointly by the United States Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey and the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) of the United States Department of Justice.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.