News Release
Date: May 22, 2012
Contact: Lisa A. Webb Johnson
Public Information Officer
Number: 713-693-3000

Mexican Businessman Indicted for Money Laundering, Bank Fraud
--Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez is Wanted and Remains a Fugitive--

Wanted: Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez
Wanted: Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez

May 22– (Brownsville, TX) - Fernando Alejandro Cano Martinez, 55, a Mexican businessman from Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico, has been indicted as a result of the efforts of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Javier Peña, United States Attorneys Kenneth Magidson, of the Southern District of Texas and Robert Pitman of the Western Districts of Texas announced today. The indictment, returned late this afternoon in Brownsville, Texas, stems from a long-term investigation targeting alleged money laundering activities inside the United States.

Cano is currently a fugitive and a warrant remains outstanding for his arrest. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at (956) 542-7831 or (956) 542-5811; Radio: 145*4*41047; Desde Mexico: 001-800-010-5237.

“We remain steadfast in our commitment in targeting not only the drug cartels but those who allegedly provide support and service to them,” said Magidson. “This case is another example of our cooperation with various law enforcement agencies and other U.S. Attorney’s Offices including evidence from the government of Mexico in charging those who seek to circumvent the laws of the United States.”

He is charged with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments since on or about January 1, 1998. The indictment alleges Cano and others conspired to use an array of corporate entities they formed in Texas to launder portions of bribes paid by the Gulf Cartel to high level elected officials and candidates for such elected office in Tamaulipas. Millions of dollars of assets, primarily Texas real estate, were allegedly acquired in the scheme.

Cano is also accused of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. According to the indictment, Cano and others also engaged in a separate conspiracy in the acquisition of loans from financial institutions by submitting false financial information to the banks in order to obtain the loans.

At the same time that the indictment against Cano was returned, civil actions were filed by United States Attorney’s Offices in the Southern and Western Districts of Texas. In Corpus Christi, Texas, a civil complaint was filed regarding real property allegedly owned by Tomas Jesus Yarrington Ruvalcaba. Yarrington was the former mayor of Matamoros, former governor of Tamaulipas and former presidential candidate for Mexico. In the complaint, it is alleged that Yarrington used illicit proceeds to purchase a condominium located in South Padre Island, Texas, using a third party to conduct the $450,000 transaction and hold title.

In San Antonio, the United States Attorney’s Office is filing a civil action regarding a single property, purchased in 2006 for approximately $6.6 million, that was allegedly obtained with illicit funds by Yarrington, Cano and others.

The money laundering conspiracy carries a possible 20-year-term of imprisonment, upon conviction. Cano also faces an additional five years if convicted of conspiracy to commit bank fraud. Also included in the indictment is a notice of intent to seek a money judgment in the amount of $20 million on each count and forfeiture of assets, including an airplane and several bank accounts belonging to Cano.

The OCDETF investigation leading to the criminal charges was conducted in Brownsville, San Antonio, Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigations and the Texas Attorney General’s Office. As part of the investigation, the United States sought evidence from the Mexican Central Authority, via Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in effect between the United States and Mexico.

This case is being prosecuted in the Southern District of Texas by Assistant United States Attorneys Charlie Lewis, Jody Young and Julie K. Hampton, and in the Western District of Texas by Assistant United States Attorney Mary Nelda Valadez.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.