USAO: Four People Indicted On ‘Bulk Cash Smuggling’ Charges … Two Still On Lam
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A federal Grand Jury returned an indictment against four people on money laundering related charges including one man from Florida and one man from the British Virgin Islands, authorities said.
Akil Erickson, 26, of Orlando and Mikiel Robin, 21, of Road Town, Tortola and two others were charged with international money-laundering and bulk cash smuggling, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.
The indictment also alleges that each person charged made false statements to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.
According to the indictment, on or about October of 2018, the four people engaged in a conspiracy to transport United States currency from the British Virgin Islands to the United States while knowingly avoiding U.S. currency reporting requirements for reporting bulk cash exceeding $10,000.
“The indictment alleges that the cash was proceeds from the illegal sale of drugs and that the defendants were aware of the money’s origin,” Shappert said.
According to the indictment, each person charged falsely stated that he was not carrying in excess of $10,000 from the British Virgin Islands to the United States. The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation of $138,000.
Robin and Erickson appeared for arraignment on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges, the other two defendants, who remain unidentified at this moment, remain at large.
The federal trial is scheduled for July 29, Shappert said.
Each person faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000 for money laundering; up to five years imprisonment for each count of bulk cash smuggling; and up to five years imprisonment for making a false statement to a federal law enforcement officer.
Shappert said that a criminal indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.
“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” she said.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter.