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Financial Crimes
12/04/2012

Car dealership president convicted of money laundering

ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal jury found the president of a Florida car dealership guilty Monday of three counts of money laundering and 11 counts of failure to file an IRS Form 8300, which is a report required for cash purchases of more than $10,000. The guilty verdict comes after an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); the FBI; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Apopka Police Department; the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the Osceola County Sheriff's Office.

Joel Torres, 40, president of JM2 Auto Sales Inc., a used car dealership in Apopka, Fla., faces up to 10 years in federal prison for each of the money laundering counts and up to five years in federal prison for each count of failing to file IRS Form 8300.

According to court documents, Torres laundered narcotics proceeds for the Gulf Cartel, a drug trafficking organization based out of Mexico. Torres received this money in cash, and then sent vehicles back to members of the cartel in Texas. He also sold vehicles to cartel members in central Florida. During this joint investigative effort, law enforcement officers in Florida seized more than 6,000 pounds of marijuana, nearly $1 million, bullet-proof vests and more than 70 firearms, including assault weapons.

Torres is the eleventh person convicted as a part of this investigation. Eladio Marroquin-Medina, 30, of Apopka, vice president at JM2 Auto Sales Inc., previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess, with the intent to distribute, more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Marroquin-Medina and Torres are scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 14 and Feb. 25, respectively.