John Wesley Hall

DOJ accuses professor of laundering money stolen from Venezuela

The financial schemes plotted by foreign actors might feel far away from Arkansas, but international money laundering operations can involve people in the United States. The recent charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against a university professor illustrate this point. Federal investigators claim that the 73-year-old laundered money derived from bribes and other corrupt practices that stole money from Venezuelans.

According to a press release from federal prosecutors, the professor had access to multiple bank accounts that received funds from overseas accounts in the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland. Prosecutors assert that he received about $200,000 every month. After depositing the money, he routinely transferred 90% of it to his personal accounts. Federal investigators estimate that he handled roughly $2.5 million from November 2017 to October 2018.

The university that employs the professor and author of the book "Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Violence in the Americas Today" has placed him on administrative leave as he deals with his legal challenges. Each charge of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering threatens him with a 20-year maximum sentence if a court convicts him.

A professional or public figure embroiled in an investigation of white-collar crimes might seek guidance from a criminal defense attorney. Legal support may help a person navigate the criminal justice system and make informed decisions. An attorney's evaluation of the evidence might give a person an independent view of its strength. These legal insights may point toward defending the person at trial or discussing a plea deal. With a legal representative, a person may gain access to a prosecutor and create an opportunity to forge a plea deal that limits penalties. An attorney may manage these discussions with discretion and help a client weigh the pros and cons of any offers that emerge.

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