Business owner in Oakland sentenced for laundering money for cartels


Business owner in Oakland sentenced for laundering money for cartels

Felipe de Jesus Ornelas Mora, the owner of Rincon Musical in Oakland, has been sentenced for money laundering drug proceeds through his business. He and his employees knowingly accepted large sums of money from drug dealers, sending it to Mexico and Honduras using other customers’ identities to conceal the transactions as routine remittances. These illegal activities took place at the International Boulevard business between September 2020 and August 2022. Ornelas Mora, 51, was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and received an 18-month prison sentence, along with three years of supervised release.

The transactions conducted by Ornelas Mora and his employees involved wiring amounts under $3,000 to avoid federal reporting requirements. The investigation into his business began when wire receipts were discovered on the cell phones of arrested drug dealers. Ornelas Mora admitted in his plea agreement that the money received from certain individuals was linked to drug trafficking and that the laundering activities were a way to skirt mandatory reporting rules.

DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Clark stated that money laundering plays a crucial role in the cartel business model, and Ornelas Mora facilitated this process by handling drug proceeds. He praised the efforts to disrupt the flow of drug money in the Northern District of California. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick D. Robbins emphasized that the prosecution of businesses involved in laundering drug money serves as a warning to others engaging in similar activities. CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Mosley added that facilitating drug trafficking by laundering illegal proceeds only worsens the drug epidemic in communities and will not be tolerated.

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