Panamanian National Arrested In Colombia For Money Laundering Conspiracy
Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum, a/k/a “Nidal Waked,” 46, of Panama, was arrested yesterday in Bogota, Colombia on a federal criminal indictment filed in United States District Court in the Southern District of Florida, charging him with participating in a conspiracy to launder money and bank fraud.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
On March 24, 2015, an indictment was filed against Waked in the Southern District of Florida, charging two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1956(h) and bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1344. Waked, a Panamanian national, is designated a Consolidated Priority Organization Target (“CPOT”) by the Department of Justice, a designation given to the most significant money launderers and drug traffickers in the world.
According to the indictment, Waked conspired with others to engage in monetary transactions through financial institutions affecting foreign commerce, involving funds derived from illegal drug trafficking activities and fraud on a foreign bank, and with transporting funds into and out of the United States with the intent to promote fraud on a foreign bank. The indictment further charges that Waked conspired to conduct financial transactions involving the proceeds of unlawful activity, with the intent to disguise the nature, source, ownership, and control of those finds and charges that Waked conspired to transfer funds into and out of the United States knowing that the funds represented proceeds of drug trafficking and knowing that the transfer was designed in part to conceal and disguise the nature of those proceeds. Additionally, the indictment charges that Waked devised a scheme to defraud a bank through false representations designed to obtain a lower rate of interest on an open line of credit extended to him by a bank located in Miami, Florida. Waked misrepresented the nature of funds he was moving through an account in the Miami bank as being funds borrowed from a competing bank at a lower interest rate.
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) a partnership that brings together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, dismantle and prosecute high level members of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations and enterprises.
U.S. Attorney Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the DEA Homestead Resident Office and FBI and recognized the assistance provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. The Panamanian authorities have been informed of this action and Panamanian and U.S. authorities will coordinate going forward. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank H. Tamen.
An indictment is merely an allegation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. 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 on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.