2 Sentenced for Their Roles in Drug Money Laundering and Mortgage Fraud Conspiracy

Allison Tussey —  April 1, 2010 — Leave a comment

Garry Souffrant, 33, a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida, and Yvonne Souffrant, 33, husband and wife, both of Davie, Floirda, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Paul C. Huck to 240 months and 54 months in prison, respectively.

In November 2009, Garry Souffrant was convicted after a five-week jury trial of 46 counts, including conspiracy to commit mortgage fraud, conspiracy to commit drug money laundering, mail fraud, making false statements to mortgage lenders, bank fraud, bank theft, and receipt of stolen bank funds. At the same trial, Yvonne Souffrant was convicted of count of fraud conspiracy and one count of making a false statement to mortgage lenders.

According to the Indictment and evidence presented during the trial, from 2002 to 2008, defendants Garry and Yvonne Souffrant used their family business, called Progressive Real Estate of Broward, Inc., to launder millions of dollars in drug proceeds through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme. The defendants assisted drug traffickers in purchasing homes and luxury automobiles, including a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom. To execute the scheme, the defendants arranged for and/or acted as straw buyers on behalf of the drug traffickers. This allowed the traffickers to use their drug proceeds to purchase homes and lease automobiles, while concealing the source of the income. The defendants also diverted several million dollars of mortgage loan proceeds to continue to fund the scheme and for their personal use.

This investigation and prosecution was the culmination of a five-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation, named Operation KOMPA, which focused on drug trafficking and violent crimes in north Miami-Dade County. As part of this Operation, numerous individuals were prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to lengthy prison terms (Case No. 07-20577-CR-Huck). Among those prosecuted and sentenced were Ali Adam and Graylin Kelly. In March 2008, Adam and Kelly were both sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment, after having pled guilty to drug conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy charges for their participation in a scheme to launder millions of dollars of drug proceeds through the purchase of real estate and luxury automobiles. The Souffrants were involved in this aspect of the conspiracy.

Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation; Miguel A. Exposito, Chief, City of Miami Police Department; and James K. Loftus, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announced the sentencing of defendants.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Sloman stated, “These defendants engaged in mortgage fraud as a means to launder drug proceeds. We will continue to use our expertise in financial cases to deprive drug dealers of their ill-gotten gains.”

“As we’ve seen in this case, drug trafficking organizations routinely commit so called white collar crimes such as mortgage fraud and bank fraud to launder their proceeds, said FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies. “These types of crimes should not be taken lightly given that they fuel violent, criminal activity. We will continue to work with our partners to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge Daniel W. Auer stated, “These defendants used what appeared to be a legitimate real estate company as a method to launder the proceeds of illegal narcotics activities and to defraud financial institutions and mortgage lenders. In this case, IRS Special Agents were able to follow the money, track and document the flow of funds, and prove that the defendants laundered millions of dollars through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme.”

Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the IRS-CID, the FBI, the City of Miami Police Department, and the Miami-Dade County Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Patrick Sullivan, Todd W. Mestepey, and Kelly Karase.

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Allison Tussey

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