Charged in an eight-count criminal complaint was Maria Carolina Nolasco, 44, an assistant vice president at a branch of Valley National Bank located at 275 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y.Nolasco
had been responsible for international private banking at Merchant's Bank
, and continued in that role when Merchant's Bank
was acquired by Valley National Bank
, who was born in Portugal, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.Nolasco is alleged to have conducted her illegal money transmitting business using the fax facilities in her office at the Valley National Bank Madison Avenue branch and the services of the Valley National Bank wire transfer facility in Wayne, New Jersey, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Marion Percell.
was arrested this morning near her
home by Special Agents of the U.S Customs Service.Nolasco is scheduled to make an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stanley R. Chesler at 2 p.m.
Together with Nolasco
, the Brazilian company
was charged with operating a money transmitting business without the necessary state license.
Over $15 million dollars was seized today from 39 of the accounts handled by Nolasco
at the Valley National branch in New York.Federal statutes authorize the seizure of funds involved in illegal money transmitting schemes.Valley National Bank
is not charged in connection with the scheme and has cooperated fully in the government's investigation.
According to the complaint, Nolasco
, acting in return for remuneration separate from the salary paid to her
by Valley National Bank
, was using dozens of bank accounts under her
control to transmit money on behalf of currency exchange houses and money transmitting businesses in Brazil.The accounts were held in the names of individuals and shell companies, mostly based in Brazil, that were fronts for the currency exchange houses and money transmitting businesses.The complaint alleges that during the eight-month period from May 2001 through December 2001, over a half billion dollars passed through 26 of these bank accounts.
The tax evasion counts in the complaint offer detail on Nolasco's unreported illegal income.
The complaint states that the transactions conducted by Nolasco
were part of a black market currency exchange system that circumvents South American laws and regulations that prohibit, limit, or tax the purchase of United States dollars.According to the complaint, the primary source of United States dollars available for sale on the black market is narcotics trafficking.The complaint does not allege that Nolasco
laundered narcotics proceeds; however, it does allege that she
deposited $9,000 that an undercover agent gave her
and told her
was drug proceeds.
The Complaint explains that New Jersey and New York both require a license issued by the State Department
of Banking to conduct a money transmitting business, and Nolasco
did not have a license to conduct a money transmitting business in either state.Valley National Bank
has no obligation to obtain a state license because state laws requiring a license to operate a money transmitting business do not apply to banks.According to the Complaint, however, the transactions conducted by Nolasco
were conducted using the facilities of Valley National Bank
, but were not conducted on behalf of the bank.
The Complaint alleges that during the four-year period from 1998 through 2001 Nolasco
received a total of $1,242,211 from the bank accounts she
controlled, and she
did not declare that income on her
tax returns for those years.The Complaint alleges that Nolasco owes $434,904 in additional taxes.The income she
husband declared during the same four years, according to the Complaint, totaled only $183,454.
The Complaint also alleges that Nolasco
structured cash transactions for the purpose of avoiding the filing of currency transaction reports that banks are required to file for deposits of currency in excess of $10,000.According to the Complaint, Nolasco
accepted $30,000 from an undercover agent and deposited those funds in increments under $10,000.In addition, the Complaint alleges, she
deposited the $9,000 that she
had been told was the proceeds of narcotics trafficking. Nolasco
is charged with four counts of tax evasion, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $100,000 fine.Nolasco
is charged with two counts of cash structuring, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.Nolasco
is charged with money laundering (for the $9,000 transaction), which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and $250,000 fine, and with operating a money transmitting business without a state license, which also carries the a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine.The Brazilian currency exchange business is charged in this latter count as well.