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Former realtor convicted of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and perjury

FBI Miami Office Press Release - December 10, 2002

Marcos Daniel JimĂ©nez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Hector M. Pesquera, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office; and Thomas W. Raffanello, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, announced the conviction of Jose Fernandez by a jury in Miami following a four-week trial before United States District Judge Ursula Ungaro-Benages. The jury convicted Fernandez on all counts charged, which were one count of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, and six counts of perjury. Fernandez has been in custody since his arrest in April 2002. Based upon the jury’s guilty verdicts, Fernandez faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 55 years.

This case arises out of a twenty-year long obstruction of justice and money laundering conspiracy involving associates of Salvador “Sal” Magluta and Augusto Guillermo “Willy” Falcon. In 1987, Magluta and Falcon absconded on pending charges in California and remained fugitives until their arrests in October 1991 on federal cocaine trafficking charges in Miami. Fernandez, who has worked in Dade County as a realtor since the late 1980s, assisted Magluta in avoiding arrest by renting him several apartments in Miami Beach under false identities. Prior to Magluta’s arrest, Fernandez also rented Magluta several luxury homes in Golden Beach under one of the false identities. One of the homes rented for $9,500 per month. The other rented for $15,000 per month.

In the late 1980s, Fernandez also assisted Magluta in hiding real estate holdings in the names of nominees. After the United States Marshals Service commenced forfeiture proceedings in 1988 on a Magluta family ranch in West Dade, Fernandez helped several Magluta associates purchase the property and retain it as nominees for Magluta. In 1989, Fernandez brokered the transaction that allowed long-time Magluta associate Marilyn Bonachea to purchase the adjoining lot as a nominee for Magluta.

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