Money Laundering Scheme Funneled $11 Million Through Arizona Bank

By Hunter Brownstein
Published: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 3:26pm

Federal prosecutors say a money laundering scheme managed to funnel $11 million through an Arizona bank. The money originated from drug sales and ended up in bank accounts in Mexico. Prosecutors say the scheme was made possible by a corrupt Rio Rico bank manager.

Enrique Monarque Orozco pleaded guilty to helping orchestrate the scheme from January 2017 to April 2019. Orozco’s role included sitting next to owners of fraudulent bank accounts as they opened them. He would hand them cash to deposit, and direct them where to wire the money.

Once the bank stopped allowing cash deposits from anyone besides the account holder in 2018, the Rio Rico conspirators had to pivot to smuggling cash from Mexico to Rio Rico. The cash was then given to funnel account owners who would deposit their cash in amounts less than $10,000. The money was then wired to bank accounts in Mexico where it was then converted into pesos. 

Agents identified approximately 89 funnel accounts operated by Monarque’s organization from 2017 to 2019. 

Monarque also faced charges in Santa Cruz County Superior Court where he was sentenced to two and a half years in state prison in August.

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