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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Former Mexican Governor’s Political Appointee Indicted

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A former Mexican political appointee from the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been indicted for conspiring to launder monetary instruments, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson.

Pablo Zarate Juarez is the former Instituto Tamaulipeco De Vivienda Y Urbanismo (ITAVU) director in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The criminal indictment, returned yesterday, is a result of the efforts of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation.

ITAVU is the Tamaulipas Institute for Housing and Urban Development. Zarate Juarez was appointed to the position of director of ITAVU by former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba. ITAVU is the department in Tamaulipas responsible for supporting lower income residents with housing programs and financing programs. 

There was a previously filed Verified Civil Complaint for Forfeiture in Rem regarding a 2005 Pilatus Aircraft, bearing tail number N679PE, also listed in the forfeiture provision of the indictment against Zarate. The Pilatus aircraft is the same aircraft that is also listed in the notice of forfeiture in the pending criminal indictment charging former Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington Ruvalcaba. In the civil case, it is alleged that Yarrington is the true owner and that he purchased the aircraft through several straw purchasers in a complex money laundering scheme. The laundered proceeds is alleged to have included drug cartel money. 

“HSI special agents often investigate complex financial schemes in order to disrupt and dismantle the ongoing operations of suspected transnational criminal organizations,” said Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Antonio. “These investigations can deprive the organizations from enjoying the fruits of these illicit proceeds and prevent them from furthering the ongoing criminal enterprise. HSI will continue to aggressively investigate fraudulent financial schemes that jeopardize the integrity of our financial system.”

If convicted of the money laundering conspiracy, Zarate faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $500,000 fine (or twice the value of the monetary instrument or funds involved in the transactions or both). Upon conviction of the bank frdu charge, Zarate also faces up to 30 years in Federal prison and a potential $1 million fine.  

Zarate is not in the custody of the United States and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 956-542-5811. Persons calling from Mexico should call 001-800-010-5237.

The OCDETF investigation leading to the indictment was conducted in McAllen, San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston, Laredo and Corpus Christi by HSI, FBI, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration. 

This case is being prosecuted in the Southern District of Texas by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie K. Hampton.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Updated April 30, 2015