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Press Release

Jury Declares Key West Money Launderer Guilty

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

Miami, Florida – Following a three-day trial, a federal jury in Key West, Florida found Sean Kerwin Bindranauth, 44, guilty of laundering $1 million derived from romance and investment fraud scams targeting elderly victims.

According to the evidence presented at trial, the victims of the romance scam were generally lonely older women who befriended the defendant’s co-conspirators, who posed as men living on oil rigs, serving in wars, or otherwise working in remote locations.  After establishing the on-line relationship, the “men” convinced the victims to send them money.  Other victims were misled by the defendant’s co-conspirators into investment scams.  One victim testified at trial that he was misled into believing that a $1,000 plunge into cryptocurrency would yield a $10,000 return.  In 2018 and 2019, victims of both scams were directed to send their money to Bindranauth, which they did by wire transfer, personal checks, or cash.  

Once Bindranauth received the money, he would send it from the United States to Nigeria through international money transfer companies and direct bank transfers.  Over a dozen seniors and other victims were tricked into sending Bindranauth and his co-conspirators approximately $1 million.  Evidence at trial also demonstrated that other victims sent Bindranauth cash via USPS and that Bindranauth purchased gift cards and sent the gift card information to his co-conspirators in Nigeria to use.  A forensic analyst testified that the loss to victims as a result of this part of the scheme was impossible to trace.

The jury found Bindranauth guilty of conspiring to commit money laundering and six counts of substantive money laundering, as well as conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business.  U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore will sentence Bindranauth on January 10, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. in federal district court in Key West.  Bindranauth faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy, 20 years in prison for each money laundering count, and five years in prison for unlicensed money transmitting, in addition to fines.  

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

HSI Miami, Key West Office, investigated the case, with assistance from Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey Lazopoulos Friedman and Yisel Valdes are prosecuting the case, with Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniele Croke handling asset forfeiture.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 19-cr-10016.

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Contact

Marlene Rodriguez
Special Counsel to the U.S. Attorney
Public Affairs Officer
USAFLS.News@usdoj.gov

Updated October 6, 2021

Topic
Financial Fraud