Former Mexican politicians indicted for fraud and money laundering

Corpus Christi, Texas - Two former Mexican politicians from the State of Coahuila were indicted Wednesday on multiple charges of conspiring to launder monetary instruments, bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The four-count sealed federal indictment was returned Nov. 20 and unsealed Wednesday. It charges Hector Javier Villarreal Hernandez, 42, former Secretary of Finance for the Mexican State of Coahuila, and Jorge Juan Torres Lopez, 59, former Interim Governor and Secretary of Finance for Coahuila, with conspiring to launder monetary instruments and bank fraud. In addition, Villarreal Hernandez was also charged separately with mail fraud, and Torres Lopez was charged with wire fraud.

The investigation leading to this indictment was conducted through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston and Corpus Christi by agents and officers of Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Texas Attorney General's Office.

According to court documents, two previously filed civil forfeiture complaints allege Villarreal Hernandez and Torres Lopez sent more than $2 million each to offshore accounts in Bermuda after misrepresenting the source of the funds to a bank on multiple occasions. The complaints further indicate Villarreal Hernandez is facing charges in Mexico regarding an alleged false loan scheme to steal money from the federal government in Mexico. The documents allege there were several large transfers of money between the U.S. bank accounts of Torres Lopez and Villarreal Hernandez.

If convicted of the money laundering conspiracy, Villarreal Hernandez and Torres Lopez each face up to 20 years in federal prison; and they face up to 30 years for bank fraud. Upon conviction of mail or wire fraud, respectively, Villarreal Hernandez and Torres Lopez further face another maximum 20-year-sentence. Their sentences could also include thousands of dollars in fines, if convicted.

Neither is in U.S. custody; warrants remain outstanding for their arrest. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact the DEA's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (HIDTA) office in San Antonio at 1-210-499-2900.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie K. Hampton, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting this case.

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