Monroe County Resident Charged with Participating in a Romance and Investment Fraud Conspiracy Scheme that Targeted the Elderly
KEY WEST - A Monroe County resident was arrested on charges in connection with a romance and investment fraud scheme that targeted elderly victims throughout the United States, announced U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Field Office.
Sean Kerwin Bindranauth, 42, of Key West, Florida, was charged in a ten-count indictment with conspiracy to commit money laundering, eight counts of money laundering, and conducting an unlicensed money transmitting business (Case No. 19-cr-10016-JEM). If convicted, Bindranauth faces a maximum statutory sentence of twenty years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy, twenty years in prison for each money laundering count, five years in prison for unlicensed money transmitting, and a fine up to $500,000 or double the proceeds as to the money laundering conspiracy and a fine of up to $1,000,000 as to each money laundering count of conviction. The total loss amount is more than $900,000. Bindranauth had his initial appearance and arraignment on Sept. 27, 2019, and trial is set for Dec. 9, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez in Key West.
According to the indictment, from at least as early as February 2018 and continuing through May 2019, Bindranauth was part of a conspiracy that used investment and romance scams to induce victims to money via wire, personal checks, or cash to Bindranauth for a purported investment or promissory payment. Bindranauth would allegedly send the funds out of the United States to Nigeria through Western Union and MoneyGram as well as bank-to-bank transfers. Several of the victims are over 60 years old. Bindranauth and his co-conspirators were given a total of nearly $1 million from over a dozen senior citizens and other victims.
An indictment is a charging instrument containing allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of HSI in this matter. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lindsey Lazopoulos Friedman.