Former Broward County Vice-Mayor and Commissioner Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Launder Money and to Filing a False Tax Return
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 10, 2009|
Jeffrey H. Sloman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; and Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, announced that defendant Josephus “Joe” Eggelletion, 60, of Lauderdale Lakes, pled guilty this morning before U.S. District Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks in West Palm Beach.
Eggelletion, a former Vice-Mayor and Commissioner in Broward County, pled guilty to a one count Information charging him with conspiring to commit money laundering and filing a false tax return, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The violation carries a maximum sentence of five (5) years' imprisonment, followed by a term of supervised release of up to three (3) years. Sentencing has been scheduled for February 10, 2010 at 10:30 a.m.
During the plea hearing, Eggelletion admitted to intentionally conspiring with others to assist in the laundering of money represented by FBI undercover agents as coming from a purported high yield investment “Ponzi” scheme, and to evade paying federal income taxes on the cash fees he received for laundering this money. More specifically, Eggelletion admitted that he introduced the FBI undercover agents to co-conspirators Ronald Owens and Joel Williams, who assisted the undercover agents in meeting with Bahamian attorney Sidney Cambridge to open a Bahamian bank account to launder their money. The undercover agents had represented to Eggelletion and others that the money originated from a high yield investment fraud scheme.
According to statements made in court, during 2007, in five separate transactions, the undercover agents wire-transferred approximately $900,000 to Cambridge’s escrow account, which Cambridge in turn transferred to the Bahamian account he set up for the undercover. Ultimately, the funds were transferred from the Bahamian account to an FBI-controlled bank account in Saint Croix. In February 2008, Owens informed Eggelletion that the undercover agents were laundering another $200,000 (in addition to the $900,000 previously laundered). Pursuant to their agreement, Eggelletion and his associates received a fee of 7 percent of funds laundered through the accounts, which fee was paid in cash.
Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies stated, “Communities have a right to expect their elected leaders be ethical, trustworthy, and responsible, abiding by the same laws ordinary citizens do. The FBI and its law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those elected officials who choose to break the law.”
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Neil Karadbil and Jeffrey Kaplan.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.