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Multi-Million Dollar Central Florida Conspiracy to Launder Money to China

A multi-million dollar Central Florida conspiracy to launder money to China has been shut down.

Five individuals have pleaded guilty to a total of 35 counts of conspiracy to commit concealment money laundering, concealment money laundering, and structuring in an international scheme to hide proceeds of computer fraud committed on victims throughout the nation, United States Attorney Roger Handberg announced.

The individuals are Cristian Rodriguez Labour, Jihad William Morales, Michael Gabriel Robles Vazquez, Aramys Gonzalez Rodriguez, and Jorge Ivan Ortiz Buil.

According to the plea agreements and other court documents, Labour recruited Morales, Robles Vazquez, Gonzalez Rodriguez, and Ortiz Buil to incorporate fake businesses in Florida and open business bank accounts in Deltona and Orlando. Unnamed conspirators hacking into the computer systems of small businesses throughout the country would then direct wire transfers to the fake businesses in Florida.

Once the transfers were received, Labour, Morales, Robles Vazquez, Gonzalez Rodriguez, and Ortiz Buil would immediately transfer the bulk of the funds to businesses in the Zhejiang, Weifang, Shouguang, Huzhou, and Hangzhou regions of China while withdrawing a portion as payment for their participation in the conspiracy. The transfers were designed to conceal the source of the fraud proceeds and the defendants further obscured their withdrawals by structuring them to avoid bank reporting requirements.

Over a two-week period, in early March 2021, Labor and Morales laundered over $560,000 and attempted to launder another $200,000 using a single account in Deltona by sending the fraud proceeds to accounts in Zhejiang and Weifang and taking $80,000 in structured withdrawals as payment. Morales was captured on camera during one of the withdrawals.

From June through November 2021, Labor and Vazquez used three different bank accounts in Orlando to launder $116,000 and attempted to launder $50,000 more. From August through December 2021, Labour and Gonzalez-Rodriguez used at least three different bank accounts in Orlando to launder over $1 million. Labour and Ortiz Buil attempted to launder $1 million in one bank account in December 2021 before successfully laundering around $250,000 at four different banks from December 2021 through February 2022, which laundering included using other individuals that Ortiz-Buil recruited into the scheme.

Overall, members of the conspiracy successfully laundered $3,323,941 to offshore accounts in China and unsuccessfully attempted to launder another $6,145,877, all of which were the proceeds or attempted proceeds of computer fraud and cyber intrusions on small businesses throughout the United States.

Each faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering and up to 10 years’ imprisonment for each count of structuring.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dana E. Hill.

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