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09/11/2014

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3 homes and overseas bank account latest assets targeted in garment district money laundering probe

Total estimated value of seizures in Operation Fashion Police now exceeds $100 million
3 homes and overseas bank account latest assets targeted in garment district money laundering probe

LOS ANGELES — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) posted seizure notices late Friday afternoon on three Los Angeles-area homes, including a mansion in Pasadena valued at approximately $8 million, in the latest developments stemming from Operation Fashion Police, an HSI-led probe targeting alleged large-scale money laundering by businesses in the Los Angeles garment district.

Friday's enforcement actions bring the total value of assets seized by HSI in connection with Operation Fashion Police to more than $100 million. That figure includes approximately $60 million in cash recovered by HSI special agents Wednesday during the execution of search warrants related to the case. The cash was found at various residences and businesses stored in file boxes, duffel bags, backpacks and even suitcases.

Additionally, overnight HSI and the U.S. Attorney's Office finalized arrangements with the Taiwanese Ministry of Justice to freeze $15.6 million in funds currently deposited in a Taiwanese bank account that is also allegedly tied to a "Black Market Peso Exchange" scheme to launder narcotics proceeds for international drug cartels. This is the first time Taiwan is facilitating a significant asset seizure as part of a U.S.-based criminal investigation.

"This case is a testament to the great work of HSI, and clearly shows that the Department of Homeland Security will follow the trail of criminal proceeds wherever it leads, whether it's around the block or around the world," said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. "With the help of our Taiwanese law enforcement partners, these seizures not only deny criminals their profits, they also disrupt their ability to further fund their criminal activity."

Besides the 8,000 square foot home at 1500 Lombardy Road in Pasadena, federal authorities are also seeking to seize a second Pasadena residence at 3750 Mayfair Drive, and a home in Alhambra located at 1117 N. Almansor Street. Collectively the three residences are believed to be worth approximately $10 million and financial records indicate the mortgages on the two Pasadena homes are fully paid. At this time, the affidavits associated with the seizure warrants remain under seal, so no additional information is available.

HSI officials stress Operation Fashion Police is ongoing and more enforcement activity is anticipated.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/23/2014