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Passaic, Clifton Men Admit Illegal Money Transmitting Scheme

By rlsmetro on
Passaic County

Two Passaic County men Tuesday admitted their roles in an illegal money transmitting business, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced. 

Federal authorities said Erickson Checo-Almonte, 31 of Passaic and Jordano Abreu-Diaz, 24 of Clifton, separately pleaded guilty by videoconference on October 25, before U.S. District Brian Martinotti to information charging them each with aiding and abetting an illegal money transmitting business.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From April 2017 through March 2019, Erickson Checo-Almonte accepted over $3.9 million in cash and purchased over 137 cashier’s checks at local bank branches in New Jersey and elsewhere.

From November 2016 through August 2017, Abreu-Diaz accepted over $1 million in cash and purchased 39 cashier’s checks at banks in New Jersey and elsewhere. Both men admitted that the cash they used to buy the checks was from illegal activity.

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 unlawful source of the cash,

The suspects allegedly transferred it from New Jersey to the Dominican Republic and Colombia 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 greatest.

Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for March 2, 2022.