Queens, NY man used banks in New Jersey, tri-state as part of $653-million money laundring conspiracy
A man from Queens is looking at between 10 and 30-years in prison for his role in running a massive $653-million dollar money laundering conspiracy, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and bribing bank employees in connection with financial transactions, things he admitted to in court, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on Tuesday.
The scheme ran from 2016 to 2021, where 43-year old Da Ying Sze laundered $653-million in cash as a result of narcotics and other illicit proceeds, as well as using a number of financial institutions and methods.
He acceped the ill gotten gains in cash and then desposited his haul into banks in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and elsewhere too by using shell company and conspirator bank accounts.
Sze would also allgedly use the illegal cash he obtained to buy bank checks, write personal and business checks, as well as make international and domestic wire transfers sending thousands of dolalrs to people and entities in the U.S., Hong Kong, China, and other places.
In return for doing that, he got 1-2 percent of the laundered money.
During the last year plus of his scheme, he gave gift cards and other valubale items to people who worked at one or more of the financial institutions as part is plan to infultrate the banks by corrupting its employees to help him avoid detection and continue making transactions.
In this same time period, Sze provided about $57,000 or more in gifts to these employees who helped him with the illegal financial transactions, and he made millions in profits as a result.
Sze has now pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, one count of operating and aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business, and one count of corruptly giving anything of value to an employee of a financial institution in connection with financial transactions.
“The defendant in this case laundered a staggering amount of money,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said in a written statement. “Neither money laundering, the narcotics distribution that funded it, nor the bribery of a financial institution that facilitated the money laundering will be tolerated. A broad cross section of federal and local enforcement partners dismantled this sophisticated money laundering operation.”
“Today's announcement demonstrates that criminals who launder illegitimate profits can't evade detection from IRS Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners,” Michael Montanez, Special Agent in Charge IRS Criminal Investigation Newark Field Office, said in a written statement. “This guilty plea is a significant step toward holding the defendant accountable for his role in conspiring to hide hundreds of millions of dollars gained from narcotics distribution.”
“The money laundering discovered during this investigation allows drug traffickers to expand their operations throughout the U.S. and around the world,” Susan A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, said in a written statement. “The actions of DA Ying Sze contribute to high number of overdose fatalities across the country. The men and women of DEA, along with our law enforcement partners, work tirelessly to disrupt the flow of illicit narcotics proceeds to those drug organizations looking to flood our streets with deadly poison.”
When sentenced, in June, on the money laundering conspiracy charge, Sze faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount involved in the offense, whichever is greater.
He faces a max of five-years in prison for operating and aiding and abetting the operation of an illegal money transmitting business, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the amount involved in the offense, whichever is greatest.
Sze faces 30-years in prison for bank bribery and a fine of $1 million, or three times the value of the thing given, whichever is greatest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Pesce of the OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan M. Peck of the Asset Recovery and Money Laundering Unit in Newark, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Angelica Sinopole of the Organized Crime & Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Joel Cohen Esq., New York.