CLEVELAND, Ohio — A former Cleveland boxer was sentenced Thursday to greater than three years in federal jail for operating a bank-like operation the place he laundered cash for drug traffickers and different criminals by means of real-estate purchases.
Raul Torres, 57, processed greater than $1 million as an unlicensed cash service, a few of which was derived from drug trafficking and different crimes, between 2011 and 2018. An undercover federal job pressure agent caught Torres saying that he purchased homes, mounted them and bought them for a revenue, all to provide legal proceeds an air of legitimacy and conceal the place they got here from.
Torres additionally exhibited combating roosters in Youngstown on two events in 2018, and he and different individuals hooked up knives or different sharp objects to the roosters’ legs. He additionally managed houses on Denison Avenue and West 38th Road that have been used to coach roosters for fights.
He cooperated as soon as the FBI approached him and pleaded guilty in July to 9 prices, together with cash laundering, working an unlicensed cash transmitting service and animal combating violations. He agreed to forfeit greater than $1 million.
Torres, together with his spouse, kids, pastor and different family members within the viewing gallery, apologized to his household. He constructed a good enterprise as a property proprietor and landlord lengthy earlier than he grew to become “free with the place he obtained his cash and who he did enterprise with,” his legal professional Michael Goldberg stated.
Along with the 38-month sentence, Senior U.S. District Choose Donald Nugent ordered Torres to pay a $5,000 wonderful. The decide additionally stated he would advocate that Torres, whose legal professional stated he has an alcohol drawback, take part in a federal jail program to handle substance abuse that might cut back his sentence if he efficiently completes it.
Torres, who lives in Fairview Park, will stay on supervised launch for 3 years upon his launch from jail. Nugent advised Torres he will need to have a legitimate driver’s license and insurance coverage if he desires to drive. Torres has drunken driving convictions, and the decide warned him that he may very well be again in federal courtroom if he doesn’t abide by the situation.
Torres has labored to unload a lot of his properties, a lot of that are on Cleveland’s West Aspect, as a way to forfeit greater than $1 million to the federal authorities, Goldberg stated. He added that the properties his shopper bought included these touched by the drug proceeds, however others that weren’t, an assertion with which Assistant U.S. Legal professional Elliot Morrison disagreed. The prosecutor stated that Torres constructed his enterprise after which used it in an “insidious method.”
He beforehand agreed to forfeit about $60,500 seized from financial institution accounts.
Torres boxed within the 1980s and 1990s and was at one level a junior welterweight champion. He as soon as owned a boxing health club on West 32nd Road within the metropolis’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood and bought the constructing in October.
His plea settlement gave a number of examples of his discussions with folks on how he would launder cash, together with quotes that authorities translated from Spanish.
Torres met with an individual in March 2016 and supplied to “clear your cash” through the use of his checking account to purchase then a home. Torres defined that the particular person may not resell the home for way more than the acquisition value, “however you clear the cash that you just invested. It takes a pair months, however you clear all of your cash.” He later made the profitable bid at a Cuyahoga County sheriff’s public sale and acquired the home in his title.
The identical month, Torres spoke with one other particular person in regards to the breadth of his cash laundering operation and defined that actual property funding and leases have been nice methods to cover illicit cash and make a revenue.
Torres stated his aim was to repair up properties and hire to lower-income folks, however that folks he met obtained him into hassle.
“I don’t suppose anyone in Cleveland was doing what I used to be doing,” he stated.