Luis Alejandro Giralt Apéstegui, Carlos Manuel Chinchilla Jiménez and Francisco Delgado Jiménez are three Costa Rican businessmen, who were detained in August 2012, in Manhattan, New York, for conspiring in the United States to launder US$1 million dollars.
The three men have pleaded guilty before the Southern District Court of New York.
Giralt pleaded guilty on March 3, but it won’t be until June 4, when his sentence will be known, as he continues negotiating with the prosecution. For now he is being held at Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York.
Chinchilla pleaded guilty on July 25, 2013, and sentenced to 36 months, serving out his time at the Moshannon Valley Correctional Centre, a federal prison for men located in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Delgado (a naturalized American) has been free on US$250.000 bail posted on January 2013. Delgado pleaded guilty last July 24, but he is still be to be sentenced.
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Tico trio, who were being investigated since 2011, had conspired from February and August 2012, to commit the crime of money laundering.
Prosecutor Preet Bharara, in his statements to the Court, explained that the investigation began when an informant (alias Rosie) and an undercover IRS agent (alias Sammy) posed as a group of major drug traffickers.
In late 2011, Giralt made contact with Rosie to provide him with money laundering services. It is then when Girald introduced his partners, Robert Cox and Carlos Chinchilla, to Rosie and Sammy.
The contact between Giralt and Rosie/Sammy continued into early 2012. The three met on February 17, 2012. Recorded by authorities, Sammy explained to Giralt that he had large sums of money, product of drug trafficking, he wanted placed abroad. On February 29, 2012, Giralt, Cox and Chinchilla travelled to the U.S., in a plane piloted by Chinchilla, to pick up the cash and bring it to Costa Rica.
The undercover agents were told the cost for the service was a 19% commission. At the last meeting the agents handed the Ticos US$200.000. On March 8, 2012, with the assistance of a third undercover agent (alias Santi) the Costa Ricans was given another US$300.000 to launder.
U.S. authorities tracked the movements of the cash that included banks in Cyprus and Denmark.
On April 17, 2012, Santi and his group of undercover agents, handed over another US$500.000 dollars to the trio, with a future meeting set for August 9, 2012. This time the cash moved in places like Hong Kong and Denmark.
However, Cox was murdered on July 30, 2012, in Santo Domingo de Heredia (Costa Rica). The rest of the group travelled to New York for their meeting, where they were met by FBI agents instead, who made the arrests on August 10.