Key West man wired $87K to Nigeria, according to money-laundering indictment

October 1, 2019
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A Key West man faces more than 100 years in federal prison after a grand jury indicted him last week on money laundering charges and on operating an unlicensed money wiring service.

U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested Sean Kerwin Bindranauth, 42, on Friday. Three days earlier, a grand jury indicted him on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, seven counts of money laundering and one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, as does each of the seven money laundering counts, according to the Sept. 24 indictment.

The government has released few details about what led to Bindranauth’s arrest. Nestor Yglesias, spokesman for Homeland Security Investigations, said his arrest and indictment “are part of an ongoing investigation.”

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also investigating the case, Yglesias said.

According to the indictment, between March and July 2018, Bindranauth wired $3,838 to a person in Abraka, Nigeria. He wired another $500 to the same person on Nov. 12, 2018, according to the document.

Then, in September 2018 and January and April 2019, he transferred $5,500, $42,000 and $35,000 respectively to an account at the United Bank of Africa, according to the indictment.

Bindranauth is being represented by a federal public defender who did not immediately return an emailed request for comment. His arraignment is scheduled for Friday at the federal courthouse in Key West.

Bindranauth has an arrest record in Monroe County going back to 1998, when prosecutors lowered a felony burglary charge to misdemeanor petit theft, to which he pleaded guilty.

He pleaded no contest to two counts of felony marijuana possession, for having more than 20 grams, in January 2018, and a judge sentenced him to two years of drug-offended probation. The conviction stemmed from two separate arrests, one by the Key West Police Department in October 2017, and one in June 2017 by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, according to county court records.

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