Financial transaction

gold merchants convicted of financial and armed crimes | USAO-SDCA


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Deputy United States Attorney Daniel Silva (619) 546-9713

SUMMARY OF THE PRESS RELEASE—December 3, 2021

SAN DIEGO – Global Gold Exchange, LLC and its officers, Richard M. Owen, James Warren and Jeffrey Morrow, were convicted today in federal court for committing several financial and gun crimes, including money laundering. ‘money through their unlicensed money transmission activities by falsely reporting transactions such as “gold” and other precious metals.

Following the entry of guilty pleas in 2019 and 2020, United States District Court Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo sentenced each of the defendants to jail. Owen was sentenced to 24 months in jail for money laundering and possession of firearms. Warren and Morrow were given prison terms of 6 and 8 months, respectively, for their convictions for operating an unlicensed money transfer business.

As part of their sentences, the defendants agreed to confiscate approximately $ 2 million in assets involved in money laundering and unlicensed money transfer activities, and in addition to provide restitution in the amount of of at least $ 3,682,063.44 for the offenses of money laundering, mail fraud, and operating an unlicensed money transfer business. Each defendant is subject to a three-year supervised liberty sentence at the end of his custodial sentence.

Special agents from the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Financial Investigations and Border Crimes Task Force worked with agents from the FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service during the multi-year investigation to unravel millions of dollars in suspicious transactions taking place in San Diego office and bank. Global Gold Exchange accounts, or “GGEX”.

Overall, the defendants illegally laundered money and funds from various sources – both legal and illegal – and fraudulently documented the transactions as “a full transaction in gold”. Their crimes were best summed up in plea deals that were previously made by the four defendants, who admitted to operating GGEX “as an informal money transfer system aimed at facilitating the transfer of money at the national level and international outside the system of conventional financial institutions, and has therefore done without regard to the source, destination, purpose or legality of the funds transmitted.

Several victims addressed the court and the defendants, describing how they “stole our dignity”, “stole our peace of mind” and “hurt people on a very deep level”. After reviewing the underlying facts of the case and handing down the sentences, Judge Bencivengo said the crimes of the defendants allowed people to “hide property and inappropriate transactions” while causing “irreparable harm” to the victims.

“Global Gold Exchange and its managers have attempted to operate as a one-stop-shop for money laundering,” Acting US Attorney Randy S. Grossman said. “Today’s sentences make it clear that the United States will prosecute and prosecute any individual, asset or business that attempts to launder the proceeds of crime or threatens the integrity of our financial system.

Between 2017 and 2018, defendants GGEX, Owen, Warren and Morrow used various unlicensed money laundering, fraud and money transmission techniques to conduct illegal transactions through GGEX and GGEX bank accounts, including including transactions with a “local cartel outside Mexico”; forge invoices for sales of gold, when in reality it was a receipt of a large cash deposit, and returned by check after GGEX took a 10% commission; agree with “clients” to inform law enforcement or tax authorities that the transactions were sales / purchases of precious metals; and advising customers to send GGEX packages filled with heavy substances to mimic the weight of gold, all to falsely document the nature of GGEX transactions.

“The sentences handed down today demonstrate the IRS Criminal Investigation’s commitment to disrupting professional facilitators, who facilitate the commission and cover-up of financial crimes by hiding them behind legitimate business services,” the Special Agent said in instructs Ryan L. Korner of the Los Angeles field office. “Targeting organizations such as Global Gold Exchange, LLC and its managers, who have used their expertise in our financial systems to launder illicit funds, eliminates this possibility of criminal activity. “

“The FBI is proud to partner with the IRS Criminal Investigations and the United States Postal Inspection Service to engage our collective authorities in responding to money laundering and fraud cases like these,” FBI special agent Suzanne Turner said. “Today’s sentences should have a chilling effect on those who seek to launder the proceeds of crime by exploiting our financial system. The FBI and our federal partners will continue to provide all available resources to stop the flow of money to criminal organizations.

“Today’s conviction makes a statement to those who use US mail to commit fraud,” said Carroll N Harris, postal inspector in charge of the Los Angeles division, United States Postal Inspection Service. United. “Instead of seeing gold bars, these fraudsters will be behind prison bars. As always, postal inspectors remain committed to keeping mail free from fraudulent mailings and will hold those who do so accountable for their crimes. ”

This case is the result of the continued efforts of the Financial Investigations and Border Crimes Task Force, a partnership targeting illegal transactions through the financial system. The task force brings together the combined expertise of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, including the IRS-CI, the California Franchise Tax Board, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the San Diego Police Department. The FBI and the United States Postal Inspection Service partnered with the FIBC in this coordinated investigation, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. This case is being continued by US Deputy Prosecutor Daniel Silva.

DEFENDANTS File numbers: 19-CR-2936-CAB; 20-CR-3748-CAB

World Gold Exchange, LLC

Richard M. Owen San Diego, California Age: 52

James Warren San Diego, California Age: 50

Jeffrey Morrow San Diego, California Age: 46

SUMMARY OF CONDEMNS

Money Laundering – Title 18, USC, Section 1956

Maximum penalty: 20 years in prison and a $ 500,000 fine

Operating an unlicensed money transfer business – Title 18, USC, Section 1960

Maximum penalty: five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000

Mail Fraud – Title 18, USC, Section 1341

Maximum penalty: thirty years in prison and a $ 1 million fine

Illegal possession of a firearm – Title 18, USC, Section 922 (g)

Maximum penalty: 10 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine

AGENCIES

IRS Criminal Investigation and the Financial Investigations and Border Crimes Task Force

Federal Bureau of Investigation

United States Postal Inspection Service

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