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Maria Carolina Nolasco, a one-time assistant vice president at Valley National, was charged by federal authorities in the matter.She pleaded guilty in 2004 to tax evasion and operating a money transmitting business without a license.She has not been sentenced.
New York City banker Maria Carolina Nolasco was arrested Thursday after authorities discovered she moved $15 million in a Black Market Peso scheme that involved half a billion dollars over eight months.Nolasco, assistant vice president at a branch of Valley National Bank, was charged with operating a money transmitting business without a license and tax evasion, among other charges.
According to the criminal complaint, Nolasco
used dozens of bank accounts to transmit money on behalf of currency exchange houses and money transmitting businesses in Brazil.
NorthJersey.com - New Jersey Business
Maria Carolina Nolasco, 44, who headed Valley National's international private banking department, was the target of a two-year U.S. Customs Service probe that traced the money trail to Brazil, authorities said.
was clearly capable of moving billions of dollars in a very short time.It's very disturbing."
Authorities on Thursday also seized nearly $16 million from 39 suspicious Valley National accounts managed by Nolasco
, Webber said.
Sources familiar with the investigation said they suspect that Nolasco
, a Portuguese native who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, helped to illegally transfer more than $1.3 billion over 18 months.
Investigators discovered that Nolasco
appeared to violate bank policies by approving money transfers in excess of $1 million without the required co-signature of another officer, authorities said.
To help compile evidence against her
, an undercover Customs agent fluent in Portuguese got a job as Nolasco's assistant at the bank's Madison Avenue office in Manhattan.In addition, an informant who posed as a customer met with Nolasco
, seeking to deposit $30,000 in the bank, a criminal complaint on file in U.S. District Court in Newark says.
In a secretly recorded conversation, Nolasco
told the informant how to structure the deposit incrementally to avoid laws that require financial institutions to notify the Treasury Department of large transactions, the complaint alleges.Nolasco
then said it "was very dangerous" to carry such amounts because they search people at the airport and X-ray their bags, it alleges.
The complaint says Nolasco
offered to recommend money remitters in Brazil who could facilitate the transfer of money between Brazil and the United States.
Several of the suspicious bank accounts managed by Nolasco
were in the names of "shell companies" based in Brazil, and some appeared to be held by a variety of Brazilian currency exchange firms, authorities said.Nolasco
is suspected of investing some of the ill-gotten gains into her
Jersey City home and took expensive vacations to Europe, they alleged.Nolasco
was released on $250,000 bail after an initial appearance in federal court in Newark.She
is charged with eight counts of illegally structuring cash transfers, operating a money transmitting business without a license, and tax evasion.Gerald H. Lipkin, chairman and chief executive officer of Valley National, said Nolasco was suspended from her job after her arrest Thursday morning.
Charged in an eight-count criminal ...
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.Nolasco, 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.
Yahoo - Banker accused of operating illegal money transmitting business
Authorities said they seized over $15 million from 39 of the accounts handled by Maria Carolina Nolasco at the Valley National Bank branch in New York.
...Nolasco, who was an assistant vice president at the Manhattan branch, was charged along with Turist-Cambio Viagens e Turismo, Ltda., a Brazilian currency exchange and money transmitting business, of operating a money transmitting business without the necessary state license. Nolasco, 44, was released on $250,000 bond set by U.S. Magistrate Stanley R. Chesler.
...Nolasco used the fax machines at the Madison Avenue branch and the wire transfer facilities of the bank's Wayne headquarters to conduct the illegal transmittal business, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Marion Percell.
could not be reached for comment.She
did not immediately retain a lawyer, and no phone listing could be found for her
Percell said Nolasco
worked at the bank as recently as Wednesday.
got money for using dozens of bank accounts under her
control to transmit money on behalf of currency exchange houses and money transmitting businesses in Brazil, according to a complaint filed by U.S. authorities with her
The black market for dollars circumvents South American laws and regulations that prohibit, limit, or tax their purchase, the complaint said.
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, according to the complaint.
Most of the dollars available for sale on the black market stem from drug trafficking, the complaint said.
is not charged with laundering narcotics proceeds, but she
is accused of depositing $9,000 that an undercover agent gave her
and told her
was drug proceeds. She
is accused of receiving $1.2 million from the bank accounts she
controlled from 1998-2001, but failed to declare that income on her
tax returns, cheating the government of $434,904 in taxes.
The four counts of tax evasion each carry up to five years and a $100,000 fine.
Nolasco faces one money laundering charge, which carries up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine.She
is also charged with two counts of cash structuring, and one count of illegally operating a transmittal business, each of which carry up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Nolasco
, who was born in Portugal, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
On the Net: U.S. Attorney's Office