Lichoa Enters Guilty Plea To Charge Of Money Laundering Conspiracy

Alfredo Lichoa, longtime Central Florida horseman, has entered a guilty plea to a charge of money laundering conspiracy according to federal court records. Lichoa was indicted alongside four others in March by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York – the same prosecutor’s office which, days earlier, had indicted more than two dozen trainers and veterinarians (including trainers Jorge Navarro and Jason Servis) on charges of drug misbranding relating to an alleged horse doping ring. Lichoa and four others were arrested on March 9, the same day the FBI executed arrest and search warrants in Florida and New York in connection with the Navarro/Servis investigation.

Additional defendants charged with money laundering conspiracy in March were Jose “Pepe” Morely Chocron; Isaac Schachtel, a licensed Thoroughbred owner from Venezuela living in Miami; Juan Carlos Balaguera-Villamizar; and Juan Marcos Matos Ruiz.

A superseding indictment filed in the case in early August charged only Lichoa, Schachtel and Chocron with one count of money laundering conspiracy. The new indictment sought forfeiture of assets the defendants may have gained as a result of their actions.

The original indictment described a scheme by the defendants to launder money purportedly from corrupt politicians in Brazil. The money was used to get preferential treatment in business deals. The scheme is alleged to have included the horsemen’s accounts belonging to trainers in the South Florida area. Trainers were supposedly able to put money into the accounts and either rapidly resell a horse or rely on consistent wins by the horse to get their money back out.

The original indictment included quotes from Schachtel, who is supposed to have relied on Lichoa to guarantee the safety of funds because of “systematic administration of illicit performance enhancing drugs to the racehorses under his control,” according to federal prosecutors.

Read more about the original indictment here.

A sentencing hearing for Lichoa is set for Feb. 17, 2021 before Judge Jed S. Rakoff.

A trial date for Chocron has been set for March 30, 2021.

The post Lichoa Enters Guilty Plea To Charge Of Money Laundering Conspiracy appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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