Indictment for footwear retailers accused of US-Mexico money laundering

The US authorities have arrested the owner and two employees of Texas-based footwear retailer, ERENE, for their alleged roles in an estimated US$100 million trade-based money laundering (TBML) scheme.

A 61-count indictment charges business owner, Jose Luis Rodriguez, assistant manager, Jorge Penuelas, and another employee, Manuel Rodriguez, with multiple money laundering conspiracy charges.

Retail opportunity
According to the indictment, the alleged TBML scheme began in 2007 with Jose Luis Rodriguez telling shoe suppliers that he would sell their products via ERENE’s retail outlets.

El Paso-based ERENE operates several retail outlets trading variously as J&E Sports, Rise High Skateshop, Quicken, Quicken Footwear & Accessories, Pepes Casual, Arise 915 and Forward Footwear.

Smuggling route
Several shoe suppliers took up Jose Luis Rodriguez’s offer to retail their merchandise and provided ERENE with goods worth millions of US dollars.

But once the goods were delivered, instead of finding their way to the retail outlets, the footwear was allegedly smuggled to Mexico.

The smugglers then allegedly sold the shoes to Mexican wholesalers and then laundered the proceeds of these sales via US Postal money orders.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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