Leaked bank documents show South Florida real estate’s alleged ties to money laundering

Suspicious activity reports were collected and analyzed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN

2701 Jockey Circle in Davie, FL (Google Maps, iStock)
2701 Jockey Circle in Davie, FL (Google Maps, iStock)

A group of South Florida property owners’ alleged ties to global money laundering are revealed in newly leaked bank documents.

A family who owns a home worth more than $2 million in the Jockey Circle neighborhood in Davie and a man accused of buying an $850,000 Tudor cottage in Davie with drug money are among the property owners emerging from a trove of suspicious activity reports, according to the Miami Herald.

The reports are documents collected and analyzed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, to find potential money laundering.

The Ceballos family of Davie were flagged for $260 million in transactions from April 2013 to January 2014 that looked suspicious to a bank. Venezuela’s national oil company and an anti-poverty program were among the government agencies that made large payments to Ceballos companies, according to the Herald. Companies tied to the family do business from the Davie house.

The Tudor cottage owner, Anthony Santos Gomes, was arrested in 2017 and pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money generated by the distribution of drugs that killed several Americans. The leaked bank documents show Gomes is part of a group of people linked to flagged payments totaling more than $403,000 made between 2012 and 2017, the Herald reported.

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Leaked documents also detail how Martin Lustgarten of Miami, previously charged with laundering millions of dollars for Latin American drug traffickers in a dismissed criminal case, transmitted and received at least $346 million in transactions with global business clients between 2007 and 2016, according to the Herald.

Upcoming articles in the series will include a Coral Gables lawyer convicted of facilitating a global cryptocurrency business that is accused of being a Ponzi scheme, and another about a Palm Beach County company that funneled sums to allies of the leader of Syria.

U.S. law enforcement has attempted to crack down on money laundering in South Florida. In August, the former head of procurement at a subsidiary of Venezuela’s state-owned energy company pleaded guilty after he was accused of money laundering by purchasing South Florida real estate. In July, 11 properties in Palm Beach County were identified as part of an alleged money laundering scheme.

[Miami Herald] — Wade Tyler Millward