Attorney admits to involvement in $12 million unlicensed money transmitting business

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A local attorney admitted Tuesday that he took part in an unlicensed money transmitting business that illegally conducted nearly $12 million worth of international financial transactions in violation of the Bank Secrecy Act.

According to the plea agreement, attorney Richard Medina admitted that he was involved in a commercial enterprise that collected cash from clients in the United States and transferred the money to points around the world without registering the business with the Secretary of the Treasury, which is required by law. 

According to court documents, Medina and co-conspirators Omar Trevino Caro Del Castillo and Francisco Cuevas obtained commissions for their services, extracting a fee from the millions of dollars transmitted abroad.

Caro Del Castillo and Cuevas previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Medina illegally utilized his law firm’s "Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts” for receipt, transport and transmission of cash to international destinations.

Civil attorneys routinely receive client funds, known as "trust money,” to be held in trust for future use, including IOLTA accounts.

Medina acknowledged in his plea agreement that he "knew or had reason to know that the cash transactions described were proceeds of unlawful activity, or were intended to promote unlawful activity," according to federal prosecutors.

Medina, 39, also pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge. His sentencing is set for Dec. 7.

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