A former investment banker from Monterrey, Mexico, was sentenced in San Diego federal court Monday to just over a year in prison for his role in transferring more than $6 million in cash out of the United States without authorization from the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Marcelo Sada, 31, pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to run an unlicensed money-transmitting business. In addition to serving the 12- months-and-a-day custody term, he will have to surrender nearly $31,000 in profits from the illegal transactions.
A co-defendant in the case, Sandro Arsendi, 38, has also admitted to taking part in the crimes. He is serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison and has forfeited about $139,000 worth of illicit gains.
In their plea agreements, the men conceded that they collected U.S. currency and sent it south of the border for Arsendi’s clients.
To execute their plan, Sada and Arsendi had an associate — unbeknownst to them, an undercover agent — pick up millions of dollars in cash in various cities throughout the United States and transfer it to a bank account for transmission to Mexico.
Arsendi received 2.25 percent of the money transmitted, and Sada took 0.5 percent. In their pleas, both men admitted that they believed the funds were proceeds of some sort of illegal activity.
Sada had studied in Texas, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Methodist University. Arsendi earned a law degree in Mexico and operated a construction company and human-resources firm in Monterrey, where he also resides.
While handing down Sada’s sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Anello emphasized the importance of holding people accountable for financial crimes, even if they have privileged backgrounds and no prior criminal history.
The U.S. Department of Justice “is committed to investigating and prosecuting white-collar criminals who circumvent U.S. financial regulations,” San Diego-area U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman noted.
“Individuals who engage in this conduct face more than a slap on the wrist — they risk time behind bars as well as forfeiture of ill-gotten gains,” Braverman said.
— City News Service
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