Pennsylvania News: Virginia Man, Thomas Powell Pleads Guilty in Money Laundering Scheme

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A resident of Salem, Virginia, pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to a charge of money laundering conspiracy, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.

Thomas Powell, 64, pleaded guilty to one felony count before United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that during the period from January 2011 through May 2016, Powell agreed to become a member of a money laundering conspiracy. Powell conducted financial transactions affecting interstate commerce, knowing that the property involved in the financial transactions represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity. Powell knew that each of the financial transactions was designed in whole or in part to conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds.

As part of the money laundering conspiracy, the defendant and his co-conspirators conducted the following financial transactions: 1) withdrew funds from prepaid debit cards and credit cards; 2) transmitted and received funds via MoneyGram, Walmart and Western Union; 3) cashed checks and money orders; and 4) sent and received wire transfers of funds. The funds involved in these transactions, which totaled thousands of dollars, were the proceeds of wire fraud.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for July 23, 2019. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of twenty years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentence, the court released Powell on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney Mary McKeen Houghton is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The United States Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, conducted the investigation leading to the conviction in this case.

SOURCE: news provided by JUSTICE.GOV on March 7, 2019.