July 21, 2020

Ecuadorian national pleads guilty to money laundering conspiracy

On June 11, 2020, Jose Vicente Gomez Aviles pleaded guilty in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida to a one-count Information charging him with conspiracy to launder money in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h).  Gomez was initially charged along with Juan Ribas Domenech and Felipe Moncaleano Botero in a criminal complaint unsealed in March 2020.

According to his factual proffer, Gomez was part owner of a reinsurance introducer company registered in Panama and operating out of Miami, Florida, where Gomez resided.  Gomez’ company received commissions for helping companies obtain and retain contracts with Seguros Sucre S.A., the state-owned insurance company in Ecuador. The proffer details Gomez’ knowing participation in a bribery scheme involving millions of dollars in payments to Ecuadorian government officials in order to secure an improper business advantage for Gomez’ company and its clients.  The proffer also describes Gomez’ involvement in a conspiracy to conceal the nature, source and ownership of the proceeds of the bribery scheme, and to launder a portion of the illegally obtained commissions through US financial institutions on behalf of himself and his co-conspirators, including Ecuadorian government officials.  Juan Ribas Domenech, former chairman of Seguros Sucre and one of Gomez’ alleged co-conspirators and bribe recipients, pleaded not guilty on July 17, 2020.  Felipe Moncaleano Botero notified the court on July 20, 2020 of his intention to change his plea; that hearing is scheduled for August 4, 2020.  Arraignment of a third co-defendant, Roberto Heinert, is scheduled to take place on July 31, 2020.

Plea agreement | Factual proffer