Three area residents have been arrested and charged for running a multi-million dollar scheme to operate an unlicensed money transmitting businesses to launder money derived from illegal activities.
Rockland residents Chaskel Landau, 45, of Spring Valley, Alter Landau, 64, of Spring Valley, and Joseph Neumann, 78, of Monsey, were arrested this week, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced. The three were tied to an elaborate scheme to transmit approximately $6 million.
The three were arrested following an FBI sting operation.
It is alleged that between September 2014 and August 2016, the three were involved in a serious of conversations and meetings with a confidential informant, with the intention of getting the informant to invest approximately $6 million in property owned by Chaskel Landau and his family.
Berman said that the three agreed to receive and transmit what they believed to be millions of dollars of funds that the informant had illegally obtained from his business.
The three then agreed to conceal the source of the informant’s money by transmitting the money to third parties, with the expectation that it would be returned to the informant later, in return for a 10 percent “fee.”
“The defendants allegedly engaged in a brazen scheme to unlawfully transmit and conceal millions of dollars of proceeds that they believed to be derived from illegal activity,” Berman said. “They allegedly did so for personal profit and with the aim of avoiding law enforcement detection. This Office is committed to rooting out such criminal activity.”
According to prosecutors, the scheme was two-pronged. First, the three agreed to take cash from the informant, exchange the cash for checks written from real estate companies controlled by Neuman, and make the checks payable to a third party bank account seemingly controlled by the informant.
Second, the three agreed to use charitable organizations under their control to transmit the informant’s overseas money into the United States. Over the course of the conspiracy, the three transmitted approximately $500,000 of what they believed to be stolen property, and agreed to transmit approximately $6 million in total.
Each of the three was charged with one count of conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. If convicted, each count carries a maximum term of five years in prison.
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. added, “Making money illegally is criminal in and of itself, but operating unlicensed money remitting business, especially from outside of the United States, will almost certainly result in federal criminal charges. Whenever someone needs to hide and move money, there’s a pretty good chance something’s afoot.”
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