The U.S. government has seized around $250 million from Alejandro Andrade, a former Venezuelan national treasurer convicted in an international-money laundering scheme. This scheme enabled the purchase of properties, luxury cars, and other items, sources allege. The former treasurer is currently serving prison time for his role in the scheme.
Andrade, a former Venezuelan national treasurer who was charged in Miami, is currently serving a decade-long sentence for his central role in directing the $1 billion crime. Andrade rose to prominence as the national treasurer of former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, who is now deceased. A former businessman, Andrade was once a bodyguard for Chavez. Federal agents have seized a variety of assets over the past year, including luxury cars, horses, and a luxury farm in Wellington, Florida, north of Palm Beach County. Andrade was charged along with 11 other defendants, but it does not look like the string of charges will be ending any time soon. Recently, the U.S. attorney’s office in Florida has indicated they anticipate bringing more charges to anyone involved with this scheme.
In 2019, the office has made a diligent effort to focus on its investigative work totaling more than 1,100 criminal arrests, more than $59 million in currency seizures, more than $2 million in civil fines, and a litany of other statistics demonstrating successful prosecutions. In the Andrade case, the money and property seized has become property of the U.S. government. However, Miami attorneys are challenging that decision.
In a lawsuit filed on behalf of Venezuelan clients, the attorneys are asking a court to award all of the seized money to the Venezuelan people. This strategy has found some success in Congress, where there is already advocacy for this position. Experts caution that the U.S. government and its courts may be unwilling to release the seized assets unless it can be assured the funds are going to President-Elect Juan Guaido’s efforts and not those of Chavez’s successor, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Importantly, attempts by state-controlled oil company PDVSA to recover funds purloined from it and used in crimes have been roundly rejected by courts across the United States. For those who seek a solution in the short term, the Justice Department has already established precedent by donating looted funds from Kazakhstan to a charity which helps the Kazakh people and does not directly interact with the government.
Andrade, who pleaded guilty to the charges brought against him by the U.S. attorney’s office, assisted federal authorities in building a case for other suspects. One of the most famous is a Venezuelan TV tycoon who has not been extradited to the United States. Andrade has also identified other wealthy co-conspirators who worked to further his scheme. Given the office of the U.S. attorney’s indication that they will continue to charge others involved in the scheme, this case may be far from over for those who reside in Florida.
South Florida Civil Asset Forfeiture Attorney
If you are involved in a civil asset forfeiture case, then you should hire an attorney. Contact Brian Silber, P.A. to set up a free initial consultation and work with one of South Florida’s most experienced attorneys.
Sources: 12.12.19 Venezuela CAF