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Sunday, April 20, 2014

US Attorney charges lawyer in money laundering scheme

Lawyer Danilo T. Aguilar has been charged with two felony counts of laundering of monetary instruments in a complaint filed in the District of the Northern Mariana Islands; the case is being transferred to the District of Guam for purposes of entering a plea and sentencing.

The complaint alleges that Aguilar, an attorney, deposited a check he received after responding to an email solicitation into his business account at the Bank of Guam. It was subsequently learned that the email solicitation was part of an international fraud scheme targeting attorneys, and the check was a forgery. Aguilar had transferred the funds to a different bank and was already making withdrawals. Criminal charges were filed because it was discovered that Aguilar continued to make withdrawals of the funds even after he learned that the original check was fraudulent. The charges are based on the same essential facts that are the subject of a pending civil suit filed by the Bank of Guam in the Superior Court of Guam.

Alicia A. G. Limtiaco, U.S. Attorney for the Districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, stated “scams such as this are increasingly common, and the community should be very wary.” She went on to say “this case will hopefully serve as a warning to everyone, to be wary of con-artists operating through the internet, because involvement may cost you more than just money, it may also lead to criminal charges if you become aware of the fraudulent activity, but continue to participate.”

The Internal Revenue Service is leading the investigation with the assistance of the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric O’Malley will prosecute the case.

Members of the public are reminded that the complaint is only an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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