South Florida Armored Transport Company CEO Pleads Guilty to Customs Fraud in Multi-Million Dollar Dirty Money Laundering Conspiracy | USAO-SDFL
Miami, Fla. – Jesus Gabriel Rodriguez, Jr., 45, former CEO of Transvalue, a South Florida company that transported gold, cash and other valuables by armored truck, pleaded guilty yesterday of submitting false customs documents concealing the true origin of gold imported into Miami as part of a $140 million transnational illicit gold smuggling operation.
As part of his guilty plea, Rodriguez admitted that he facilitated the importation of thousands of kilograms of gold by air into the United States from Curacao, knowing that customs documents misrepresented the gold’s origins. Rodriguez’s co-conspirators were buyers who earned volume-based commissions buying gold for NTR Metals (now, Elemetals LLC). NTR Metals was an American precious metals refinery with policies in place to combat money laundering, including not buying gold from Curacao, a country without gold mines that is commonly used as a transit point for gold illegally mined and smuggled out of other countries. Rodriguez helped the co-conspirators dodge NTR Metals’ anti-money laundering policy and smuggle the gold through US customs in an effort to conceal the gold’s origins and ties to Curacao.
Rodriguez agreed to forfeit $267,817 as part of his guilty plea, an amount that represents the estimated increase in value of the business as a result of Rodriguez’s conduct and nearly all of his personal income from of the scheme.
Rodriguez is scheduled to be sentenced April 4 at 11:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles, who sits in Miami. He faces up to 24 months in federal prison.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami; Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Office; and Anthony Salisbury, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami Filed Office, announced Rodriguez’s guilty plea.
“Complex money laundering schemes involve key players at every step of the process,” said U.S. Attorney Gonzalez. “Corporate executives who facilitate money laundering while allegedly importing legitimate goods through US transportation and customs cannot hide behind their status as otherwise legitimate business owners. Like all those involved in these illegal schemes, they will be prosecuted.
“Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated means to conceal the proceeds of their illegal activity. Called money laundering, it is the process used by scammers to turn “dirty” money into “clean” money for the purpose of hiding or accumulating wealth, avoiding lawsuits, ‘evade taxes, increase profits or finance other criminal activities,’ said FBI Miami Special Agent in Charge Piro. ‘This is a crime. Our agents and forensic accountants will aggressively target and prosecute those who launder money or assist those who do, including corporate executives like Mr. Rodriguez.
“We will not defend those who hide among legitimate businesses while defrauding others for monetary gain. Those involved in circumventing the laws in any way to launder illicit proceeds will be exposed and prosecuted,” IRS-CI Miami Special Agent in Charge Line said.
“Homeland Security Investigations will use its expertise to prosecute anyone who facilitates the laundering of illicit proceeds,” HSI Miami Special Agent in Charge Salisbury said. “HSI is committed to working with our federal partners to stop individuals who attempt to take advantage of our international financial and business institutions to support their money laundering activities.
This prosecution and related cases are part of Operation Arch Stanton, which is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OECDTF), a partnership of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. law. The primary mission of the OECDTF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle drug traffickers, money launderers, and other priority transnational criminal organizations that threaten citizens of the United States using an attorney, Intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach to combating transnational organized crime. The OECDTF program facilitates complex joint operations by focusing its partner agencies on priority targets, managing and coordinating multi-agency efforts, and leveraging intelligence across multiple investigative platforms.
FBI Miami, IRS-CI Miami, and HSI Miami investigated the case, with assistance from DEA-Miami and law enforcement partners in Curacao. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Walter M. Norkin and Andrea Goldbarg. Assistant United States Attorney Sara Klco is handling the asset forfeiture aspects of this case.
Court documents and related information can be found on the District Court for the Southern District of Florida website at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.govunder file number 21-cr-20529-DPG.