Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A former Wells Fargo personal banker, who pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in an international money laundering scheme, was sentenced today to nearly three years in federal prison.

Leopoldo Lora Aguilera, 58, of Chula Vista, admitted to opening bank accounts under false names and wiring millions of dollars to Mexico, for which he received cash payments from an unspecified criminal organization.

The money he transferred was linked “to the sale of narcotics by a Mexican drug cartel, specifically the sale of multi-kilogram amounts of fentanyl in the Midwest,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to his plea agreement, Aguilera opened 26 bank accounts for a money laundering organization. Of those, he created 11 accounts with false names, passport numbers and dates of birth. Those 11 accounts were used to wire $3.8 million to Mexico and prosecutors allege Aguilera conducted most of those wire transfers himself.

Aguilera was arrested in 2019, but the investigation led to the arrests of three others last year, who have each pleaded guilty to taking part in the money laundering conspiracy.

City News Service contributed to this article.