TUCSON, Ariz. – On September 1, Carlos Antonio Vasquez, 41, of Nogales, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James A. Soto to 30 months in prison. Vasquez previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Between February 2017 and August 2019, Vasquez, while branch manager at a bank in Rio Rico, conspired to launder money for a group of individuals to conceal the illegal source of the funds. As part of this conspiracy, the money laundering organization brought Mexican citizens into the bank and Vasquez set up accounts for them for the purpose of sending illegal funds back to Mexico. Once the bank accounts were established, the money laundering organization openly handed cash to the Mexican citizens for deposit into the funnel accounts. The Mexican citizens then wired the funds into Mexican bank accounts under the direction of the money laundering organization.
Vasquez admitted that these funnel bank accounts enabled Vasquez and his branch to appear to have attracted new customers for the bank, improving the bank’s sales performance. Vasquez also admitted to knowing that the head of the money laundering organization was a former customer of the bank and that the funds moving through the accounts were proceeds of unlawful conduct. Vasquez personally authorized 42 wire transfers out of the funnel accounts to bank accounts in Mexico in the amount of $357,883. Over the course of the conspiracy, the money laundering organization allegedly moved over 10 million dollars in drug proceeds through the bank.
U.S. Homeland Security Investigations Nogales and U.S. Internal Revenue Service conducted the investigation in this case. Elizabeth S. Boison and Margaret Moeser, U.S. Department of Justice, Bank Integrity Unit, and Mary Sue Feldmeier, Wallace H. Kleindienst, and Robert A. Fellrath, United States Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Tucson, handled the prosecution.
CASE NUMBER: CR-19-02741-TUC-JAS (JR)
RELEASE NUMBER: 2021- 058_Vasquez
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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