Passaic County Man Admits Role in Illegal Money Transmitting Scheme
NEWARK, N.J. – Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division Susan A. Gibson and U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger announced a Passaic County, New Jersey, man today admitted his role in an illegal money transmitting business.
Julio De La Cruz Acosta, 42, of Paterson, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to a criminal information charging him with aiding and abetting an illegal money transmitting business.
From July 2016 to December 2017, De La Cruz Acosta accepted $1.94 million in cash to purchase 67 cashier’s checks at banks in and around New Jersey and elsewhere. De La Cruz Acosta admitted that he knew that the cash was from an illegal source and that he purchased the cashier’s checks to aid, abet and facilitate an illegal money transmitting business.
The investigation revealed that the cash was the proceeds of illegal drug distribution. The check purchases were part of a large-scale illegal money transmitting and money laundering scheme designed to hide the illegal source of the cash and transfer it from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic and Colombia, all while attempting to avoid scrutiny by law enforcement and U.S. banks.
The charge of aiding and abetting an illegal money transmitting business carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the amount involved in the offense, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for May 17, 2022.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents and task force officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; the DEA Santo Domingo Country Office; special agents and task force officers of IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez; the Morristown, New Jersey, Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Chief Darnell Richardson; and the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (the Dominican Republic National Drug Directorate, or DNCD) with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.