By Keith Larsen
A former top executive with Ecuador’s national oil company has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for allegedly laundering money through six South Florida properties.
Marcelo Reyes Lopez, a former executive with PetroEcuador, was sentenced in July to four years and five months in prison for his role in an alleged money laundering scheme involving several PetroEcuador officials and other Ecuadorian government officials.
He had pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering in October in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida and agreed to forfeit six properties tied to the scheme.
The complaint for the case has remained sealed. A motion filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in November, however, said the U.S. “anticipates that its evidence will show the defendant participated in an extensive bribery scheme that existed to provide illicit payments to officials from Ecuador’s state-run and state-controlled oil company in order to secure and profit from contracts with that company.”
On May 8, the court entered a preliminary order of forfeiture for the six properties:
- 11316 Northwest 79th Lane, Doral; a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house
- 14340 Southwest 156th Avenue, Miami; a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house
- 16711 Collins Avenue, Unit 1902, Sunny lsles Beach; a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo
- 605 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood; a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house
- 609 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood; a multifamily complex
- 345 Monroe Street, Unit 1-4, Hollywood; a multifamily complex
According to court documents, the six properties were purchased between 2013 and 2014, for a total of $3.5 million.
On Wednesday, Lopez’s sentencing documents were filed with the court, which showed he would be sentenced to a correctional facility in Georgia.
The news comes on the heels of another major money laundering case where federal officials allege top executives of Venezuela siphoned $1.2 billion from its state oil fund, PDVSA, to purchase South Florida real estate. The U.S. Attorney’s office claims at least 16 pieces of South Florida property are tied to the defendants of the scheme, one of which was a condo in the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles.