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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Two Colombian Citizens Plead Guilty in International Money Laundering Conspiracy

Two Colombian citizens pled guilty for their participation in an international money laundering conspiracy.

Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement.

Leonardo Forero Ramirez, 59, and Ubaner Alberto Acevedo Espinosa, 32, each pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents, both Acevedo and Forero were Colombian citizens residing in Bogota. During 2008 and 2009, Acevedo handled customer accounts at a stock brokerage firm that offered accounts which could be used by customers to receive deposits, wire transfers, and other credit or money, and to disburse the funds through wire transfers and cash or other withdrawals. The stock brokerage firm was authorized to receive funds in U.S. dollars, provided that they were properly documented and justified as being for legitimate business transactions. Forero was one of Acevedo's customers.

During the course of his participation in this scheme, Forero received approximately $1.2 million from IRS undercover accounts which he passed on to the people designated to receive it. Acevedo was involved in the transfer of approximately $335,000 from IRS undercover accounts in the United States to the stock brokerage firm in Colombia, and the conversion of the dollars into pesos and their withdrawal by Forero. Both Acevedo and Forero knew that the money was derived from criminal activity.

Two other co-defendants indicted in this case are awaiting extradition from Columbia.

Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled before U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro on July 17, 2015 at 1:30 pm.  At sentencing, the defendants each face a maximum of twenty years in prison.

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

Updated February 4, 2016