Romanian Citizens Arrested and Charged with Laundering $1.4 Million in Proceeds from Jewelry Thefts and Covid Fraud
SAN DIEGO—Today Jesus Vazquez Padilla and his sister Monica Vazquez were indicted for laundering more than $42 million of drug trafficking proceeds through the financial system in the United States.
Special Agents from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) led the investigation into hundreds of financial transactions by the sibling duo between 2015 and 2019. Using approximately 85 United States bank accounts belonging to at least 22 California-based ‘shell’ corporations, Padilla and Vazquez deposited cash proceeds of drug sales into U.S.-based bank accounts and layered those deposits across multiple corporate accounts before finally transferring the funds to accounts in Mexican-based financial institutions.
For example, the indictment alleges that Defendants served as corporate officers for two San Diego-based corporations, OSVA Incorporated and Jeva International, Inc.. As corporate officers, they opened corporate bank accounts in U.S.-based financial institutions and, on various dates in 2017, deposited large cash amounts before finally transferring those funds to Mexico.
In total, the indictment contends that the siblings laundered $42,276,668, transferred approximately 95% of those funds to Mexico, and retained the remainder as payment for their services.
“Jesus Vazquez Padilla and his sister Monica Vazquez are charged with directing millions of dollars in drug trafficking proceeds through U.S. Banks and into the hands of drug trafficking organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “Today’s indictment shows that the United States will prosecute not only those who traffic in drugs but also those who enable drug traffickers through sophisticated shell corporations, false tax returns, and multiple bank accounts.” Grossman praised the prosecutors and agents from IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG), and the San Diego Police Department for their diligent work on this case.
“Today’s indictment of the sibling defendants demonstrates our commitment to disrupting professional enablers who corrupt the U.S. financial system to launder the proceeds of deadly and illegal drugs,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner of the Los Angeles Field Office. “The defendants not only created fake businesses to move drug money offshore, but also attempted to legitimize their scheme by filing false tax returns. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to lead the Financial Investigations and Border Crimes Task Force and work with our law enforcement partners on this international money laundering investigation.”
“The allegations described in the indictment demonstrate criminal behavior designed to use our nation’s financial system against us,” said Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey D. Pittano. “FDIC OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of laundering and other significant crimes impacting our nation’s financial institutions.”
“The San Diego Police Department is proud of its contributions to this federal task force,” said Chief David Nisleit. “These types of partnerships enable law enforcement to better address organized crime.”
This case is the result of ongoing efforts by the Financial Investigations and Border Crimes Task Force, a partnership targeting unlawful transactions through the financial system. The task force brings together the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement.
DEFENDANTS Case Number 22cr1551RBM
Jesus Vazquez Padilla, Tijuana, Mexico, Age: 50
Monica Vazquez, Chula Vista, California, Age: 48
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Conspiracy to Operate an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business—Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Conspiracy to Launder Money—Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1956(h)
Criminal Forfeiture—Title 18, U.S.C., Section 982(a)
Maximum penalty: Twenty years imprisonment and $500,000 fine or twice the value of the funds involved in the transportation, transmission, or transfer, whichever is greater
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG)
San Diego Police Department
*The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant U. S. Attorneys Carl Brooker and Christopher Beeler