Business attorney accused of laundering $12 million

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A San Diego-based business attorney and an alleged co-conspirator appeared in San Diego federal court Friday to face allegations that they laundered almost $12 million via international financial transactions in an attempt to promote their unlicensed money transmitting business.

Business attorney Richard Medina Jr., 38, and Omar Trevino Caro Del Castillo, 37, are charged with operating as a commercial enterprise, willing and able to transfer cash on behalf of third parties without registering with the Secretary of the Treasury, according to an indictment unsealed this afternoon.

In turn, the defendants’ customers availed themselves of the defendants’ ability to collect cash anywhere throughout the United States and transmit it anywhere in the world.

According to the indictment, the defendants obtained commissions for their services, extracting a fee from the millions of dollars transmitted abroad.

The indictment alleges that in an effort to mask the transmission of currency, Medina opened several “Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts,” known as IOLTA accounts, at national financial institutions.

Other co-conspirators picked up cash at various locations throughout the United States and deposited the cash into one of Medina’s IOLTA accounts.

Prosecutors said that by depositing the money in the IOLTA accounts, the defendants, along with their clients abroad, intended to keep financial institutions from filing accurate federal forms for all currency transactions exceeding $10,000 during one banking day.

The defendants sent their clients’ funds intentionally through an informal and unlicensed transfer network, in furtherance of the conspiracy to promote the operation of the unlicensed money transmitting business, according to the indictment.

Caro Del Castillo was ordered held without bond based on risk of flight. Medina was ordered released on $200,000 bond.

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