A University of Miami International Studies professor Bruce Bagley, who is an authority on organized crime and money laundering has been busted by the FBI for his involvement in the very subject that he’s an expert in – money laundering.
He has been indicted for being a conduit for the proceeds of a Venezuelan bribery and corruption scheme into the United States.
His university in Florida has placed him promptly on administrative leave.
Bagley, 73 years old had published a book titled “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Violence in the Americas Today.”
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Bagley’s arrest on Monday.
He was scheduled to be presented on Monday in federal court in Miami, Florida. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff in the Southern District of New York.
According to US attorney Berman, Bagley allegedly opened bank accounts for the express purpose of laundering money for corrupt foreign nationals.
“Moreover, the funds Bagley was allegedly laundering were the proceeds of bribery and corruption, stolen from the citizens of Venezuela. 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.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Criminals employ a host of methods to launder the proceeds of their crimes, but in order to be successful, they need a way to hide and move their money. As we allege, Bagley, an American professor, contributed to the success of illegal activity overseas, carried out against the Venezuelan people, by facilitating access to illicitly obtained funds, and profiting from his role in the crime. About the only lesson to be learned from Professor Bagley today is that involving oneself in public corruption, bribery, and embezzlement schemes is going to lead to an indictment.”
According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed Monday:
“In or about November 2016, BRUCE BAGLEY, a professor of international studies with publication credits including the book Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Violence in the Americas Today, opened a bank account (“Account-1”) on behalf of a company (“Company-1”) that BAGLEY owned and controlled. Between in or about November 2016 and in or about November 2017, Account-1 had minimal activity. In or about November 2017, Account-1 began receiving monthly deposits of hundreds of thousands of dollars from bank accounts located in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates (the “Overseas Accounts”). Each month, BAGLEY would receive a deposit of approximately $200,000 from one of the Overseas Accounts into Account-1. Thereafter, he would withdraw approximately 90 percent of the funds in the form of a cashier’s check, payable to an account held by another individual (“Individual-1”). BAGLEY would send the remainder of the funds to his personal account. BAGLEY and Individual-1 would visit the bank together to complete these transactions. Between in or about November 2017 and in or about October 2018, Account-1 received approximately $2.5 million from the Overseas Accounts.
“The Overseas Accounts belonged to a Colombian individual (“Individual-2”). BAGLEY and Individual-1 discussed the fact that they were moving Individual-2’s funds and that the funds represented the proceeds of foreign bribery and embezzlement stolen from the Venezuelan people. Despite this fact, BAGLEY continued to receive money from accounts belonging to Individual-2, and continued to pass the majority of those funds to Individual-1. Moreover, BAGLEY entered into sham contracts that purported to justify the transfer of Individual-2’s funds into Account-1.
“In or about October 2018, Account-1 was shut down for suspicious activity. Nevertheless, in or about December 2018, BAGLEY provided Individual-1 with information for a new bank account (“Account-2”) in order to transfer additional money belonging to Individual-2. On two occasions, BAGLEY received funds into Account-2 after Individual-1 had told BAGLEY that the funds represented the proceeds of bribery and public corruption. BAGLEY transferred the majority of these funds to Individual-1 but retained approximately 10 percent as a commission for his services”.
If convicted, the professor could face up to twenty years in federal prison for each count.