Unsealed court documents have revealed that nearly two dozen individuals are being charged for their part in transnational money laundering networks, which will be the target of further investigations by Texas authorities over the next few years.
A total of 21 individuals were charged, according to a press release from the Eastern District of Texas, and they allegedly laundered millions of dollars that came from frauds and scams in the United States.
Operation Crypto Runner, an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), has been behind the investigation and others that include cryptocurrency money laundering. The task force investigates transnational laundering networks, the press release shares.
William Smarr, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Dallas Field Office, stated that these arrests showcase the capability of the task force.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates the investigative capabilities of the Secret Service and highlights the success of our collaborative efforts through Operation Crypto Runner to dismantle and disrupt transnational money laundering networks. These arrests are just the beginning. We are committed to bringing each of the remaining perpetrators to justice,” Smarr said.
The task force has been able to disrupt over $300 million in laundered money annually since its launch, according to the press release. The operation has also identified thousands of victims and seized millions in cryptocurrency and cash.
Deependra Bhusal of Irving, Texas, was one of those indicted. Bhusal, 46, was responsible for $1,437,358.99 in laundered money.
On April 30, 2021, Bhusal pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the press release, and was sentenced to 46 months in prison on April 6, 2022.
The Inspector in Charge of the Postal Inspection Service’s Fort Worth Division, Thomas Noyes, said the cases came from an investigation lasting multiple years. The investigation began in Texas.
“These cases stem from a multi-year operation initiated in the Eastern District of Texas by Postal Inspectors and the Secret Service,” Noyes explained in the press release. “Cybercrime has become an all-too-common way for foreign criminal actors to prey on Americans. Interagency cooperation is essential to be effective in disrupting organized crime. I commend the exceptional work of our law enforcement partners and emphasize our agency’s ongoing commitment to combatting fraud and money laundering schemes.”
U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston with the Eastern District of Texas shared that the defendants were far from common run-of-the-mill criminals.
“These defendants orchestrated highly organized and sophisticated schemes to launder fraud proceeds through cryptocurrency,” Featherston said. “Today’s announcement sends a clear message that money laundering networks that service fraud schemes targeting American victims, especially the elderly, will not be tolerated, and those operating such networks will be held accountable. By acting as domestic money launderers for foreign co-conspirators, these defendants played indispensable roles that allowed foreign actors to reach from overseas to target victims in communities across the United States.”
Other individuals indicted were Zenobia Walker from Maryland, Tulasidas Konda from Virginia, Lois Boyd from Virginia, John Khuu from California, Randall V. Rule from Nevada, Sharena Seay from Florida, and Fnu Ankush from Indiana.
The investigations arising from Operation Crypto Runner will be led and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys L. Frank Coan, Jr. and Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld.