Former Venezuelan national treasurer sentenced in money laundering scheme involving SoFla real estate

Alejandro Andrade agreed to forfeit five Palm Beach County properties

Nov.November 27, 2018 05:30 PM

Alejandro Andrade, and 15231 Sunnyland Lane, Wellington

A former national treasurer of Venezuela was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday for his role in a $1 billion dollar money laundering scheme in which much of the money went into South Florida real estate.

Alejandro Andrade was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg of the Southern District of Florida. He admitted in a guilty plea that he received over $1 billion worth of bribes from his co-conspirator, Venezuelan TV mogul Raul Gorrín, and other co-conspirators in exchange for allowing them to tap into Venezuela’s special fixed currency exchange rate, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The fixed rate is much more favorable than the market rate.

Federal prosecutors said Andrade received cash as well as private jets, yachts, cars, homes, champion horses, and high-end watches from his co-conspirators. As part of his guilty plea, he agreed to forfeit his assets, which included 17 champion show horses and five real estate properties in Palm Beach County.

Andrade pleaded guilty in December 2017 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment was not unsealed until this month.

The properties include:

  • 15231 Sunnyland Lane, Wellington, a five-bedroom, six-bathroom estate that was last sold for $4.75 million in 2012.
  • 15680 46th Lane South, Wellington, a three-bedroom, two-and-half bathroom home that last sold for $1.35 million in 2013.
  • 15740 46th Lane South Wellington, a 4.2-acre parcel of land.
  • 1290 North Ocean Boulevard, Palm Beach, a six-bedroom, five-and-half bathroom home that last sold for $8 million.
  • 16912 Crown Bridge Drive, Delray Beach, a four-bedroom, five-bathroom home that last sold for $1.7 million in 2016.
  • 15159 Sunnyland Lane, Wellington, a seven-bedroom, five-and-half bathroom, 10-acre estate that last sold for $3.5 million.

Gorrín, a billionaire who is president of the news channel Globovisión, is now a fugitive, according to the Department of Justice.

Authorities are now seeking to seize about two dozen properties allegedly tied to Gorrín. Those residences include luxury homes in Miami’s Cocoplum neighborhood and six in Manhattan.

The indictment follows a separate billion-dollar money laundering scheme in July that also included real estate in South Florida. In that case, federal prosecutors say top Venezuelan officials siphoned funds out of the state oil company, and into assets throughout the world.

In both cases, some of the money is alleged to have been poured into two units at Dezer Development’s luxury Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach.

In November, Matthias Krull, a wealth manager with the Swiss bank Julius Baer Group, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in that scheme, after pleading guilty in August.

Gorrín was not a defendant in that case, but the Miami Herald — which first reported on the most recent indictment — reported that he is suspected of moving $600 million from PDVSA to a European bank for his own benefit as well for other members of Venezuela’s elite class.

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