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Las Vegas man convicted of laundering millions in drug, fraud money

Updated March 5, 2024 - 2:29 pm

A 51-year-old Las Vegas man was convicted in a New York court Monday after he “brazenly used his company as a front to launder millions of dollars in drug and fraud proceeds,” a federal prosecutor said.

Martin Mizrahi was found guilty by a jury of multiple fraud-related counts, including wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering, according to a news release issued Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“The jury’s unanimous verdict sends a resounding message that individuals who steal and introduce illicit funds into the U.S. financial system will be held accountable,” Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors had alleged that Mizrahi and others participated in schemes to defraud banks and credit companies and to launder drug proceeds.

Starting in about February 2021, federal prosecutors said, Mizrahi began accepting cash drug proceeds, which he laundered for people associated with a Mexican cartel. According to prosecutors, he converted the money into bitcoin and sent it to anonymous cryptocurrency wallets provided by co-conspirators.

Mizrahi also laundered fraud proceeds his company received by wire transfer, which he then converted into cryptocurrency. Prosecutors said these funds were partly obtained through an “email compromise scheme” in which a New York City nonprofit organization had more than $3 million stolen by hackers.

Between February and June 2021, Mizrahi laundered more than $4 million in fraud and drug proceeds.

Also, between April and June 2021, Mizrahi “participated in a credit card fraud scheme in which he ran nearly $8 million in fraudulent credit card charges through his company,” prosecutors said.

“Those charges were run on multiple credit cards issued in the names of third parties, some of which had been stolen, and without any legitimate work being done or services being provided,” the news release stated. “As part of the scheme, Mizrahi prepared false invoices which he sent to banks and credit card companies to justify the charges.”

Mizrahi was convicted of seven different offenses, including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The fraud and money laundering charges each carry sentences ranging between 20 and 30 years, while the identity theft charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison to run consecutively to any other sentences.

The conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Contact Brett Clarkson at bclarkson@reviewjournal.com.

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