Recently, a federal grand jury in the state of Miami indicted a Venezuelan businessman for money laundering. He is accused of being involved in a scheme that ran for multiple years and included millions of laundered dollars.
What are the details of the indictment?
From 2015 to 2019, a 46-year-old man named Rixon Rafael Moreno Oropeza allegedly ran a scam that would attempt to get multimillion-dollar contracts from a company named Petropiar. The scam is claimed to have included bribes to senior officials in the company as well as a million-dollar bribe to the Venezuelan government.
Oropeza is alleged to have received over $30 million in payments from Petropiar to the multiple accounts that he controlled in South Florida. The money earned from these payments was allegedly used for Oropeza’s personal benefits.
What is money laundering?
Money laundering is concealing the origin of money acquired through illegal means. In the case of the Venezuelan businessman, he is accused of having funneled money into not one but several accounts that he owned.
The term laundering comes from the process used to make the money look clean. For example, you can put money into an account named “Business Expenses” but still use the money from that account for your personal uses depending on how it’s set up.
Money laundering comes in many different forms, including small-scale and large-scale schemes. There are multiple ways to launder money and many companies have anti-money-laundering (AML) policies to reduce the chances of this happening.
What are the consequences of money laundering?
Oropeza is facing a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He’s also facing up to 10 years in prison for each count of engaging in transactions that included criminally derived property.
Whether or not Oropeza is convicted depends on the defense he uses and additional details of the trial. A common defense from people accused of money laundering is the absence of intent to commit a crime.
Money laundering is a serious crime in all 50 states, and the punishment varies depending on the exact circumstances of the crime. Companies need to have AML policies in place and thorough documentation of where the money goes and where it comes from.