Miami, Florida – A Key West man was sentenced yesterday to 180 months’ imprisonment for laundering approximately $1 million of victim funds that were illegally obtained from romance and investment fraud scams that targeted elderly victims.
After a three-day trial before the Honorable United States District Court Judge K. Michael Moore, a jury found Sean Kerwin Bindranauth, 45, guilty of one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, six counts of substantive money laundering, and one count of conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business. According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial, Bindranauth’s conspirators contacted the victims (who were generally lonely older women) via social media, developed on-line relationships with the victims, and convinced them to send money to Bindranauth via wire transfer, personal checks, or cash.
The trial evidence showed that, once Bindranauth received the money, he sent it from the United States to Nigeria by using international money transfer companies, initiating direct bank transfers, purchasing gift cards and relaying the gift card information, and other means. Over a dozen seniors and other victims were tricked into sending Bindranauth and his co-conspirators approximately $1 million. Evidence at trial demonstrated that other victims sent Bindranauth cash via USPS. A forensic analyst testified that the total loss to victims was impossible to ascertain because of untraceable funds.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, 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 investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lindsey Lazopoulos Friedman and Yisel Valdes prosecuted 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-KMM.