Indian origin man involved in money laundering in US may face up to 20 years in prison

indica News Bureau-


An Indian national has been put on trial for charges of running a number of international money laundering schemes and for running transmission business sans license. 

Accused Amit Agarwal who was arrested in the US in December 2019, at the Newark International Airport used to operate a wholesale consumer electronic business in East Hanover in New Jersey along with six nationals of Colombia. The seven of them have been charged with four indictments. The Colombian nationals were arrested in their own country and the US government is trying to extradite them to US. 

US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the illegal drug trade depended on shadow financial networks to move drug traffickers’ profits into the US banking system and across borders, reported Outlook. 

“As alleged, these defendants ran those types of networks in both the United States and Colombia,” Berman said.

The indictments unsealed in the Manhattan federal court alleged that the defendants were involved in schemes to launder funds from locations throughout the US to recipients in, among other places, Colombia, from about June 2018 to 2019.

Agarwal is charged with one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. 

Modus operandi of the fraudsters

The schemes intended to enable clients with cash located in the US to transfer the value of that cash to other countries, principally Colombia, without the need for physically transporting American currency across an international border or directly depositing large amounts of cash into the legitimate financial system.

As money brokers, the Colombian nationals offered and executed upon multiple contracts requiring the pick-up of funds throughout the US, and the delivery of a corresponding value of pesos to them in Colombia.

In exchange for their work as money brokers, they received commissions taken from the pesos delivered to them in Colombia, as did the individuals with whom they contracted.

Agarwal was the chief executive officer of a consumer electronics products business based in New Jersey. His business exported consumer electronics to purchasers throughout the world, including purchasers located in Colombia.

In connection with its business activities, the Agarwal Electronics Business maintained a bank account in the US, controlled and operated by Agarwal.

Typically, as part of the scheme, the funds collected in the US were deposited in a bank account located in the country and then transferred to the Agarwal Bank Account.

Agarwal understood these funds to be narcotics proceeds and sought to repatriate them to South America while avoiding the risk associated with having large quantities of cash detected at international borders, and avoiding the currency reporting requirements imposed by United States laws.