Houston man arrested for multimillion-dollar wire fraud and money laundering scheme

Published 3:27 pm Wednesday, June 9, 2021

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Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, the Special Agent-in-Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) in New York, announced today that GUILLERMO PEREZ was arrested this morning for defrauding businesses and individuals of more than $2.2 million through business email compromise and bank fraud schemes.  PEREZ will be presented tomorrow in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment[1] unsealed today:

From at least in or about October 2018 through at least in or about October 2019, GUILLERMO PEREZ participated in a scheme to defraud businesses by impersonating individuals and businesses in the course of otherwise ordinary financial transactions, thereby fraudulently inducing counterparties to those transactions to transfer funds to bank accounts controlled by PEREZ and his co-conspirators (the “Business Email Compromise Scheme”).  To facilitate this scheme, PEREZ conspired to deceive federally insured banks into opening business bank accounts (the “Fraudulent Bank Accounts”) by providing the banks with false and misleading information regarding PEREZ’s co-conspirators’ affiliations.

In reliance on the foregoing false and misleading misrepresentations, the victims of the Business Email Compromise Scheme wired more than $2.2 million into the Fraudulent Bank Accounts.  PEREZ and his co-conspirators, knowing the money represented fraud proceeds, transferred those fraud proceeds out of the Fraudulent Bank Accounts in transactions designed to conceal and disguise their source, ownership, and control.

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GUILLERMO PEREZ, 26, of Houston, Texas, is charged with (1) conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and (2) conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in these cases are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the investigative work of HSI.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Emily Deininger and Tara La Morte are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.