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Press Release

Former Venezuelan military official sentenced for money laundering and bribery scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMI – A former officer in the Venezuelan National Guard was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison for participating in a money laundering scheme that involved bribes to foreign officials and defrauding foreign financial institutions.

According to court documents, Nepmar Jesus Escalona Enriquez, 47, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and formerly of Venezuela, participated in an illegal scheme to finance purported food imports to Venezuela that was facilitated by bribery and false pretenses. Escalona and his co-conspirators carried out the scheme, in part, by knowingly submitting fraudulent applications to the Venezuelan currency regulation authority, also known as CADIVI, to deceive Banesco Bank, the Central Bank of Venezuela, and Venezuelan customs authorities into releasing U.S. dollars to Escalona and his co-conspirators outside of Venezuela. The fraudulent applications were submitted to purportedly finance food imports into Venezuela, but in reality were an artifice to enrich the conspirators. This conduct resulted in the transfer of nearly $1.7 million in U.S. dollars from Banesco Bank into an account controlled by the conspirators.

Escalona further admitted that, in at least one instance, the co-conspirators arranged for a series of bribes to be paid to officials in Venezuela to prevent the detection of their fraudulent scheme. Escalona also admitted in another instance to instructing a co-conspirator to wire transfer proceeds of the fraud, as well as funds constituting bribes, to four financial institutions in the United States. The five illicit wire transfers totaled approximately $420,847.

Escalona pleaded guilty on March 4 to one count of money laundering conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Special Agent in Charge Deanne L. Reuter of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Miami Field Division made the announcement.

The DEA’s Miami Field Division is investigating the case. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Goldbarg, Trial Attorney Emily Cohen and Deputy Chief Joseph Palazzo of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and prosecuted the case. 

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated May 23, 2024

Foreign Corruption