Friday, June 26, 2020

Crossing Borders

A federal conviction involves a "serious crime " meriting interim suspension as found by the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department.

The court described the offense

Respondent's conviction arose out of his ownership and operation of a company which engaged in the unlicensed transmission of money. Between 2013 and 2014, respondent used his company's bank accounts to transfer funds on behalf of others between the United States and Mexico. This was accomplished through the deposit of cash into his company's bank accounts, some of which were made by respondent after he received cash from third-parties. Those funds were then sent to Mexico via wire transfer. On other occasions, individuals located outside of New York, with no prior relationship to respondent, made cash deposits into respondent's company's accounts in order to have those funds moved to Mexico. During the period at issue, at least approximately $9 million was transferred to Mexican financial institutions in the manner described above. Respondent kept a percentage of the transferred funds as his fee for operating the money transmitting business.

On June 28, 2018, respondent pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business in violation of 18 USC § 1960, a felony. On December 6, 2018, respondent was sentenced to time served, two years of supervised release, 500 hours of community service, and fined $7,500. In addition, he consented to entry of a $9.4 million forfeiture judgment against him, however, the government agreed to accept $262,267.62 in full satisfaction thereof to be paid pursuant to a schedule determined by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

A press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York at the time of the plea

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As he admitted today, Ignacio Foncillas, an attorney, established an illegal money transmitting service between the U.S. and Mexico.  Foncillas did not register his company with FinCEN, the regulatory agency that oversees the U.S. financial system and reports suspicious financial transactions.  Attempts by individuals or corporations to circumvent their regulatory obligations will be met with swift justice.” 

HSI Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez said:  “Foncillas operated a transnational money transmitting business, moving millions without ever ensuring he had the proper licensing. The movement of money is regulated to limit fraudulent and criminal activity, which is why law enforcement is paying close attention to those operating without a license, and looking even more closely at money transactions crossing borders.”

(Mike Frisch)

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