Essex County man sentenced to eight years in prison for role in $23 million identity fraud and money laundering scheme

 

Date: June 22, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Newark, NJ — A Newark man was sentenced today to 96 months in prison for his role in a large international money laundering conspiracy and using a stolen identity in furtherance of the scheme, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Edwin Deleon-Batista previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Katharine S. Hayden to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of identity fraud. Judge Hayden imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From March 2018 through October 2019, Deleon-Batista laundered over $23 million in cash drug proceeds on behalf of a money laundering organization with close ties to drug trafficking organizations in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Deleon-Batista picked up large amounts of cash drug proceeds in New Jersey, New York, and Florida and laundered it by purchasing cashier's checks at local bank branches. The checks were made payable to individuals and companies specified by the leaders of the money laundering organization. By converting the drug proceeds to cashier's checks, Deleon-Batista tried to hide the source of the illegal cash and avoid scrutiny by law enforcement and banks.

Deleon-Batista was previously arrested on federal money laundering charges in New York in April 2019. Soon after his arrest, Deleon-Batista began using a stolen identity and obtained a fraudulent identification card issued by the State of Florida to continue the money laundering scheme. He used the fraudulent ID card to open several bank accounts, which he then used as a means to convert millions more in cash drug proceeds into cashier's checks at bank branches in New Jersey, New York, and Florida over a five-month period.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Hayden sentenced Deleon-Batista to three years of supervised release.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents and task force officers of IRS - Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez; special agents and task force officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson, and the New York Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan; the Morristown, New Jersey, police department, under the direction of Acting Police Chief Darnell Richardson, and the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (Dominican Republic National Drug Directorate) with the investigation leading to today's sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan M. Peck of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit in Newark.

This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.