Brother-sister duo charged with laundering more than $42 million in drug proceeds through 22 Shell companies | USAO-SDCA
SAN DIEGO—Today, Jesus Vazquez Padilla and his sister Monica Vazquez were indicted for laundering more than $42 million in drug proceeds through the financial system in the United States.
Special agents from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) investigated hundreds of financial transactions made by the sibling duo between 2015 and 2019. Using approximately 85 U.S. bank accounts belonging to at least 22 companies California-based “screens,” Padilla and Vazquez deposited cash proceeds from drug sales into U.S.-based bank accounts and split those deposits across multiple corporate accounts before ultimately transferring the funds to accounts in financial institutions based in Mexico.
For example, the indictment alleges that the defendants served as corporate officers of two San Diego-based companies, OSVA Incorporated and Jeva International, Inc. As corporate officers, they opened corporate bank accounts in financial institutions based in the United States and, on various dates in 2017, deposited large sums of money before finally transferring these funds to Mexico.
In total, the indictment alleges the siblings laundered $42,276,668, transferred approximately 95% of those funds to Mexico, and retained the remainder as payment for their services.
“Jesus Vazquez Padilla and his sister Monica Vazquez are accused of directing millions of dollars in drug trafficking proceeds through US banks and into the hands of drug trafficking organizations,” said US Attorney Randy S Grossman. “Today’s indictment shows that the United States will prosecute not only those who traffic drugs, but also those who enable drug traffickers through sophisticated front companies, false claims of income and several bank accounts.” Grossman commended prosecutors and agents from the IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG), and the San Diego Police Department for their diligent work on this case.
“Today’s indictment of the sibling defendants demonstrates our commitment to disrupting professional facilitators who corrupt the American financial system to launder the proceeds of deadly and illegal drugs,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigations, Los Angeles Field Office. “Defendants not only set up bogus businesses to move drug money overseas, but also attempted to legitimize their scheme by filing false tax returns. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to lead the task force on financial investigations and border crimes and to work with our law enforcement partners on this international money laundering investigation.
“The allegations described in the indictment demonstrate criminal behavior designed to use our nation’s financial system against us,” said Jeffrey D. Pittano, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General of Federal Deposit Insurance. Corporation. “FDIC OIG will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of money laundering and other significant crimes affecting our nation’s financial institutions.”
“The San Diego Police Department is proud of its contributions to this federal task force,” Chief David Nisleit said. “These types of partnerships allow law enforcement to better fight organized crime.”
This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Financial Investigations and Border Crimes Task Force, a partnership targeting illegal transactions through the financial system. The task force brings together the combined expertise of federal, state and local law enforcement.
DEFENDANTS Case number 22cr1551RBM
Jesus Vazquez Padilla, Tijuana, Mexico, 50
Monica Vazquez, Chula Vista, CA, 48
Conspiracy to Operate an Unlicensed Money Transfer Business – Title 18, USC, Section 371
Conspiracy to Launder Money – Title 18, USC Section 1956(h)
Criminal Forfeiture – Title 18, USC, Section 982(a)
Maximum Penalty: Twenty years imprisonment and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the conveyance, transmission or transfer, whichever is greater
Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG)
San Diego Police Department
* The charges and allegations contained in an indictment or complaint are only charges, and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.