Broward News

Broward Check-Cashing Kingpin Busted for Money Laundering

Christiano Leonardo Gloria, 29, has been arrested for allegedly playing a role in what state investigators say was a five-year scheme to defraud the IRS and launder the money. The check-cashing-store operator faces 110 charges.

It's a perplexing case, so I won't even try to simplify what's in the news release, which you can see here. A few paragraphs that sum up the Department of Financial Service's findings:

DFS Lead Investigator Detective Geoffrey Branch found that individuals set up shell construction companies and lied on insurance applications, primarily to Florida Citrus Business and Industries Fund (FCBI), to obtain workers' compensation certificates of insurance.

One of those shell companies, WM South Florida Construction, defrauded the FCBI in excess of $500,000 in premiums over four years and failed to remit taxes on a payroll of about $27 million. The payroll money was laundered through money transmitters in South Florida, including Vionaldo Express, from September 2002 through March 2007.

Gloria allegedly completed fraudulent currency transaction reports at Vionaldo Express and submitted them to the IRS, stating that the person receiving cash from the shell companies' checks was Dero William Viera in Brazil. Gloria held aside a percentage for cashing the checks and also set aside a percentage of 7 to 10 percent of each check as "rent" to be distributed to Viera and other codefendants.

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Thomas Francis