Date: February 4, 2020
In San Antonio, Karen Mgerian admitted to conspiring to launder millions of dollars of purported drug proceeds through a scheme that included the sale of luxury cars, announced Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office.
Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth S. Chestney, Mgerian pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Mgerian, who has remained in federal custody since his arrest on January 31, 2019, faces up to 20 years in federal prison. Sentencing, before U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez, has yet to be scheduled.
By pleading guilty, Mgerian admitted that beginning in 2017 he and a co-conspirator carried out a money laundering scheme for undercover agents using government directed funds. The defendants would, generally, provide the laundering services for a 10-20% fee of the total amount of proceeds to be laundered. Moreover, Mgerian sought to sell his luxury car dealership, MGM Auto, to agents, proposing that he would buy it back from the agents at a reduced price, i.e., less his money-laundering fee.
Mgerian has six indicted co-defendants. Jose Luis Magallon, Jr. of San Antonio, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and seven substantive counts of money laundering. Jose Antonio Rodriguez-Hernandez and Luis Emilio Mireles-Morales are both charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of money laundering. Carlos Menendez-Stanziola is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one substantive counts of money laundering.
Upon conviction of each charge, Mgerian's co-defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison. Jury selection is scheduled for 9:30am on May 11, 2019, before Judge Rodriguez in San Antonio.
The IRS-CI, DEA and the Bexar County Sheriff's Office are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Douglas Gardner, Gabriel Cohen and Daniel Castillo are prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. Magallon, Rodriguez-Hernandez, Mireles-Morales and Menendez-Stanziola are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.