You are here

Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2019

U.S. Attorney Announces The Arrest Of 3 Individuals For Operating A $6 Million Unlicensed Money Transmitting Scheme

The Defendants Are Alleged To Have Operated a Money Transmitting Business for the Purpose of Transmitting $6 Million of Illegal Proceeds

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Carl E. Dubois, Sheriff of Orange County, announced the arrest today of CHASKEL LANDAU, ALTER LANDAU, and JOSEPH NEUMAN in connection with a multimillion-dollar scheme to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business for the purpose of transmitting proceeds derived from illegal activity.  The defendants are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Paul E. Davison in federal court later today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The defendants allegedly engaged in a brazen scheme to unlawfully transmit and conceal millions of dollars of proceeds that they believed to be derived from illegal activity.  They allegedly did so for personal profit and with the aim of avoiding law enforcement detection.  This Office is committed to rooting out such criminal activity.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Making money illegally is criminal in and of itself, but operating an unlicensed money remitting business, especially from outside of the United States, will almost certainly result in federal criminal charges.  Whenever someone needs to hide and move money, there’s a pretty good chance something’s afoot.  The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure this type of behavior ceases to exist.”         

Sheriff Carl E. Dubois said:  “We continue to work closely with the FBI and our other federal partners, and the success of this long term investigation is proof of the benefits in these relationships.  Illegal financial systems pose a great risk to our residents and their financial institutions.  Law enforcement must continue work together to deter criminals from operating and engaging with organizations that allow them to evade banking regulations.”

According to allegations contained in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:  

CHASKEL LANDAU, ALTER LANDAU, and JOSEPH NEUMAN were arrested following an FBI sting operation.  As alleged, from approximately in or about September 2014 to in or about August 2016, CHASKEL LANDAU, ALTER LANDAU, and JOSEPH NEUMAN engaged in a series of conversations and meetings with a confidential witness (the “CW”).  In order to induce the CW to invest approximately $6 million in property owned by CHASKEL LANDAU and his family, the defendants agreed to receive and transmit what they believed to be millions of dollars of funds that the CW had illegally obtained from his business.  The defendants agreed to conceal the source of the CW’s money by transmitting the CW’s money to third parties, with the expectation that it would be returned to the CW, in return for a 10% “fee.”

The scheme was two-pronged.  First, the defendants agreed to take cash from the CW, exchange the cash for checks written from real estate companies controlled by JOSEPH NEUMAN, and make the checks payable to a third party bank account purportedly controlled by the CW.   Second, the defendants agreed to use charitable organizations under their control to transmit the CW’s overseas money into the United States.  Over the course of the conspiracy, the defendants transmitted approximately $500,000 of what they believed to be stolen property, and agreed to transmit approximately $6 million total.

*                *                *

CHASKEL LANDAU, 45, ALTER LANDAU, 64, and JOSEPH NEUMAN, 78, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, each of which carries a maximum term of five years in prison.  

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Berman praised the work of the FBI, the Orange County Sherriff’s Department, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.

This case is being handled by the White Plains Division.  Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew Andrews and James McMahon are in charge of the prosecution.      

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the texts of the Complaint and the descriptions of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
19-391
Updated November 21, 2019