On Nov. 18, federal authorities in New York charged a Florida professor in organized crime with participating in an international money laundering scheme. The charges were handed down in a Manhattan federal court.
According to court documents, Bruce Bagley, a University of Miami international relations professor who co-edited a 2015 book called “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Violence in the Americas Today,” helped launder around $2.5 million in funds from foreign nationals. He is also accused of keeping $250,000 of the money for himself. Between November 2017 and October 2018, the 73-year-old allegedly opened multiple bank accounts in Venezuela and accepted 14 separate $200,000 deposits from accounts in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates. Apparently, he kept around 10% of each deposit and issued the rest via a cashier’s check to an unidentified person in Colombia. Prosecutors say that individual let Bagley know the money came from foreign bribery and embezzlement schemes.
Bagley has been charged with two counts of money laundering and a single count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. He is scheduled to appear at a court hearing in Florida on Nov. 25. He will then be transferred to New York.
If convicted, defendants charged with money laundering, bribery, fraud or other white-collar crimes could face severe consequences, including years in prison, steep fines and the forfeiture of certain assets. However, with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, it might be possible to successfully challenge the accusations and get the charges dismissed. Another possibility may be for legal counsel to negotiate a plea deal that reduces the charges. This may help the defendant obtain a more lenient sentence from the judge.