This week, it was announced that Luis Fernando Figueroa had been arrested by FBI agents. The former Wells Fargo personal banker made his initial court appearance on Thursday. Figueroa has been charged for his alleged participation in an international money laundering conspiracy. The defendant is accused of being involved in an international money laundering organization based in Tijuana, Mexico that operated mostly in San Diego, California.
Between January and March of this year, seven leaders of the organization have been charged and arrested in San Diego. Five have pleaded guilty. The indictment and other pubic records show that the organization laundered roughly $19.6 million in narcotics proceeds on behalf of Mexican drug trafficking organizations between 2014 and 2016. The organization recruited individuals to work as “funnel account holders”. They were instructed to open personal bank accounts at Wells Fargo and other banking institutions.
Couriers traveled to several United States cities to pick up bulk cash. Once they acquired the cash, the money was deposited into the funnel bank accounts, which were controlled by the organization. Ultimately, the funds were transferred from the United States via international wire transfers to several Mexico-based shell companies. These companies were operated by the money laundering organization. Once the money arrived in Mexico, it was transferred to members of the Sinaloa Cartel.
30-year-old Luis Fernando Figueroa has been charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, conspiracy, and operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. Further details can be found here.