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Financial Crimes
11/13/2008

Unlicensed money transmitters charged with violating U.S. currency laws

PHILADELPHIA - Two Philadelphia residents were charged by superseding indictment for financial crimes after an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Based on evidence developed by ICE, a federal grand jury in Philadelphia returned a superseding indictment November 13 charging Youra Orn and Mony Serey with multiple federal financial crimes. The charges include: conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business in Philadelphia; bulk cash smuggling; failing to prepare a report of the international transportation of currency; and making a material false statement to federal law enforcement officers. The superseding indictment alleges that from 2004 through 2007, Orn and Serey accepted, for a fee of approximately 3% to 4% for every $100 transmitted or transported to Cambodia, approximately $628,278 from people living in the greater Philadelphia area.

After accepting the cash, Orn and Serey either sent international wire transfers of cash through Wachovia Bank and PNC bank from Philadelphia to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, or transported currency, without having obtained a license to operate a money transmitting business from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Department of Bank, or registering as money transmitters with the United States Treasury's Financial Crime Enforcement Network ("FinCEN") as required by federal law.

The unlicensed money transmitting conspiracy was Serey was apprehended at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York while carrying approximately $271,528 concealed on his body and in his luggage. At the time of his arrest, Serey was readying to board an Air China Flight destined for Phnom Penh, Cambodia with an intermediate stop in Taipei, Taiwan.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum possible sentence of 25 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,250,000, a $500 special assessment and 3 years of supervised release. The case was investigated by ICE and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Floyd J. Miller and David J. Caputo.