Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Saturday, March 2, 2019

MONEY LAUNDERING MEXICAN RESTAURANTS IN THE AMERICAN WEST CONNECTED TO EL CHAPO AND THE SINALOA CARTEL

El Chapo, also known as Shorty

Two Mexican fast-food restaurants in Colorado, recently reported as being part of money laundering operations conducted for drug traffickers, have been linked by US law enforcement authorities to Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán a/k/a/ Shorty, and to the Sinaloa Cartel. Restaurants in Colorado and Wyomong have been named as participants in the scheme. A civil forfeiture case has been filed in US District Court.

Newly-released information about the scheme has revealed that the cartels have effectively dealt with the all-important inventory issue which often results in the discovery of similar schemes, where drug profits are co-mingled with legitimate income. Unless the inventory records match the volume of the purported "sales," excessive profits can be unmasked by investigators as false. In this operation, a Cartel-owned beef exporter from Mexico submitted inflated invoices, which were far in excess of the actual amount of meat distributed. The large invoices were paid, resulting in the transfer of large sums of dollars to Mexico, much of which was, in reality, drug profits.

Vendors, providers and suppliers should always be checked, generally through enhanced due diligence, in any international transaction, to insure that there are no "ringers," or  bogus parties controlled by criminal elements, in the mix. To do otherwise can result situation like this case. The Mexican restaurants in Denver are independently-owned and charged a fee to clean the dirty Cartel
profits in this manner. These companies even reaped a tax benefit; they could deduct the phantom additional beef purchases from their taxes as business expenses. Of course, this technique constitutes tax fraud.



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