Skip to main content
Press Release

Owner of Unlicensed Money Transmitter Business Sentenced for Failing to File Currency Transaction Reports and Illegally Sending Money to Cuba

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

An owner of an unlicensed money transmitter business was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release for failing to file Currency Transaction Reports and illegally sending money to Cuba. The defendant also agreed to forfeit $480,622 in United States currency representing the funds seized in connection with the offense.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert C. Hutchinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), made the announcement.

Karell Cordero, 40, of Hialeah, previously pled guilty to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitter business, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1960. 

According to court documents, between June 2012 and May 2014, Cordero owned and operated K & Y Multiservices in Hialeah, Florida, where he received euros and exchanged them for U.S. dollars. These transactions often involved sums of tens of thousands of dollars, but Cordero did not submit Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) or other forms or reports that must be submitted to the Treasury Department. On occasion, Cordero conducted these transactions to exchange money knowing it was derived from unlawful activity. Law enforcement officers monitored two separate meetings where Cordero exchanged 240,000 euros for $326,900 in U.S. currency. Cordero was told that the money was from Mexico and came from drug dealers. Cordero did not file a CTR or any other required report on either occasion.

Another aspect of Cordero's business involved collecting money from various persons in the United States who wanted to send it to persons in Cuba. He used many of the euros he obtained from his money exchange business for this purpose. Cordero used a variety of means to transmit money to the persons for whom it was intended in Cuba, while collecting a fee for his services. Cordero knew that he was prohibited under U .S. law from sending currency from the United States to Cuba.

Cordero handled approximately $800,000 in foreign currency exchanges and transmissions of money to Cuba without filing CTRs or otherwise reporting the money to any governmental regulatory or law enforcement agencies as required by law. In addition, Cordero and his company were not licensed as a money transmitter, money service business, or foreign currency exchange.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, IRS-CI, and the DEA.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank H. Tamen.

Updated February 4, 2016