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October 16, 2017
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Wife of former Mexican official convicted in bank fraud conspiracy

(CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas) - The wife of the former Tabasco, Mexico, Secretary of Finance has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy, Houston Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez. A federal jury in Corpus Christi returned its verdict late Friday against Silvia Beatriz Perez-Ceballos, 49, of Sugar Land, following 10 days of trial and approximately five hours of deliberation.

At trial, the government presented evidence that included several extremely complex money laundering transactions involving multiple fictitious U.S. and Mexican companies and more than $40 million in laundered funds. The jury heard that Perez-Ceballos made false statements and submitted falsified documents to J.P. Morgan Chase Bank official in an effort to move $2 million to an offshore account in Bermuda. Perez-Ceballos also attempted to hide several assets, including a high-end Sugar Land residence under the company name Phantom Investments International. The case involved real property purchases in all cash transactions in Los Angeles, California, New York, New York, Miami, Florida and Houston.  Perez-Ceballos faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine.

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos presided over the trial and has set sentencing for Dec. 15, 2017. Perez-Ceballos will remain in custody pending that hearing.

Also charged in relation to the conspiracy is her husband - Jose Manuel Saiz-Pineda, 49 - and his business associate Martin Alberto Medina-Sonda, 44. Saiz-Pineda was the Secretary of Finance of the Mexican State of Tabasco from 2007 to 2012 appointed to serve under former Governor Andres Granier Melo. Saiz-Pineda is currently in custody in Tabasco on related charges of illegal enrichment. Medina-Sonda is currently serving a prison term in Mexico. The charges against them in the United States are formal accusations of criminal conduct, not evidence. They are presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, IRS - Criminal Investigation, sheriff’s offices in Fort Bend and Harris Counties and the U.S. Marshals Service conducted the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation.

Assistant United States Attorneys Julie K. Hampton and Jon Muschenheim are prosecuting the case.

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