Update: A money-laundering expert arrested after expertly laundering the proceeds of corruption in Venezuela has been sentenced to six months in prison. Prosecutors said retired University of Miami professor Bruce Bagley—who testified before Congress on money laundering—kept a roughly $200,000 commission from the scheme. The 75-year-old could have faced more than 20 years in prison but prosecutors asked for a sentence below federal guidelines, the New York Times reports. Bagley pleaded guilty to money laundering last year. Lawyer Peter Quijano said Bagley is in poor health and has already suffered severe consequences including the loss of his career and reputation, adding he is "overwhelmed by dark thoughts" that his arrest may have caused stress that hastened his wife's death last year. Our original story from November 2019 follows:
A money-laundering expert in Florida is facing charges of, you guessed it, money laundering. Bruce Bagley, 73, was arrested Monday for allegedly laundering at least $3 million in illegal Venezuelan money, the Miami Herald reports. But the University of Miami professor—who has served as an expert witness and testified before Congress on money laundering—says prosecutors are way off. "I'm feeling just fine," he tells CBS Miami. "Not guilty. That's how I'm feeling. They've got it all wrong." That said, the Manhattan US attorney leading the case sees it a little differently: "Today's charges of money laundering and conspiracy should serve as an object lesson for Bruce Bagley, who now faces a potential tenure in federal prison," says Geoffrey Berman.
Bagley is accused of accepting big monthly deposits in a bank account he set up for his own consulting firm, the Washington Post reports. Authorities say $200,000 deposits began showing up in the account in 2017 from Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, but really "represented the proceeds of foreign bribery and embezzlement stolen from the Venezuelan people." According to the indictment, Bagley wired 10% of the funds to his personal account and wrote a cashier's check for the rest to an unnamed Colombian individual. Bagley allegedly tried to hide the laundering by agreeing to "sham contracts" with the Colombian. Now Bagley is facing three money-laundering charges that each come with a possible 20-year sentence. He was freed Monday on $300,000 bond. (Read more money laundering stories.)