Local Attorney Pleads Guilty to Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Luella Caldito and Daniel C. Silva at (619) 546-9713
NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – September 15, 2015
SAN DIEGO – Attorney Richard Medina, Jr. pleaded guilty today in federal court, admitting that he and others operated an unlicensed money transmitting business that illegally conducted almost $12 million worth of international financial transactions in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.
Medina entered his plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal. In his plea agreement, Medina admitted that he and other defendants operated a commercial enterprise that collected cash from clients in the U.S. and transferred it to points around the world without registering the business with the Secretary of the Treasury, as required by law. Medina also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge.
Medina and his co-conspirators, Omar Trevino Caro Del Castillo and Francisco Cuevas, obtained commissions for their services, extracting a fee from the millions of dollars transmitted abroad. Caro Del Castillo and Cuevas have already pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Medina, in his role in the conspiracy, illegally utilized his law firm’s “Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts” (IOLTA) for receipt, transport, and transmission of cash to international destinations. Civil attorneys routinely receive client funds, known as “Trust money,” to be held in trust for future use – including IOLTA Accounts.
Medina acknowledged in his plea agreement that he “knew or had reason to know that the cash transactions described [therein] were proceeds of unlawful activity, or were intended to promote unlawful activity.”
Medina is scheduled to be sentenced on December 7, 2015 by U.S. District Court Judge Roger T. Benitez. U.S. Magistrate Judge Skomal allowed Medina to remain on pretrial release, pursuant to the terms of a bond posted by Medina.
DEFENDANT Case No. 14cr2936
Richard Medina Age: 39
SUMMARY OF CHARGES
Operating an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1960
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine, and forfeiture
Conspiracy – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Drug Enforcement Administration
Internal Revenue Service