NEWARK, N.J. – Two Florida men were charged with conspiring to launder money taken from victims across the United States, many of whom were elderly, as a part of a series of romance scams and other internet fraud, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Marlin Perra, 63, of Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, and Leslie Lallande, 65, of Pompano Beach, Florida, were both arrested in Florida and are charged by complaint with one count of money laundering conspiracy. Both defendants are expected to have their initial appearances in the District of New Jersey at a date to be determined.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Perra and Lallande laundered the proceeds of romance scams and other fraud scams through trade-based money laundering. Perra and Lallande tried to conceal the fraudulent proceeds stolen from romance scam victims by claiming that entities they controlled were in the business of buying and shipping used cars. Lallande and his conspirators prepared and executed fraudulent agreements that purported to be signed by victims agreeing to invest in Lallande’s alleged automobile business. In fact, these agreements were phony cover stories designed to paper over their receipt and movement of the romance scam proceeds.
The money laundering conspiracy charge has a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer, whichever is greater.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, Special Agent in Charge Gregory D. Nelsen in Cleveland, Ohio, and Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico in Knoxville, Tennessee, with the investigation leading to the arrests. He also thanked special agents of the FBI in Miami, Florida, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie L. Hoxie of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.