Essex County Man Admits Position in $23 Million Id Fraud and Cash Laundering Scheme | USAO-NJ

NEWARK, NJ – A Newark man today admitted his role in a major international money laundering conspiracy and the use of a stolen identity to promote the program, acting U.S. attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Edwin Deleon-Batista, 37, pleaded guilty to US District Judge Katharine S. Hayden via video conference. He was charged with one money laundering conspiracy and one with identity fraud.

According to the documents submitted in this case and statements made in court:

From March 2018 to October 2019, Deleon-Batista laundered over $ 23 million in cash drug proceeds on behalf of a money laundering organization closely associated with drug trafficking organizations in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Deleon raised large amounts of cash drug proceeds in New Jersey, New York, and Florida and washed them by buying cashier’s checks at local bank branches. The checks were paid to individuals and companies identified by the heads of the money laundering organization. By converting drug proceeds into bank drafts, Deleon sought to hide the source of the illicit cash and avoid scrutiny by law enforcement agencies and banks.

Deleon-Batista had previously been arrested in New York in April 2019 for federal money laundering. Shortly after his arrest, Deleon-Batista began using a stolen identity and obtained a fraudulent Florida driver’s license to continue the money laundering system. With the fraudulent license, he opened multiple bank accounts, which he used over a five-month period to convert millions of dollars in cash drug proceeds to bank checks in bank branches in New Jersey, New York, and Florida.

The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of $ 250,000 or double the amount of the offense, whichever is greater. The identity fraud charge has a maximum prison term of five years and a maximum fine of US $ 250,000. The conviction is scheduled for June 22, 2021.

Acting U.S. attorney Honig wrote special agents and task force officers in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration of the New Jersey Division, led by Special Agent Susan A. Gibson, and the New York Division, led by Special Agent Raymond Donovan ; Special Agents and Task Force Officials from the IRS – Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in charge Michael Montanez; and the Morristown, New Jersey Police Department, led by Acting Police Commissioner Darnell Richardson, with the investigation that led to today’s confession of guilt.

The government is represented by US Assistant Attorney Jonathan M. Peck of the Criminal Division in Newark.

This case is being conducted under the auspices of the Task Force on the Enforcement of Drugs in Organized Crime (OCDETF). The primary mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug, arms and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the country’s illicit drug supply.