The owners of a textile company in the Los Angeles fashion district have pleaded guilty to charges related to trade-based financial crime.

Hersel Neman and his brother Morad Neman pleaded guilty to channelling drug proceeds to foreign countries through a trade-based money laundering scheme.

Textile company

Prosecutors said that the company, Pacific Eurotex received, laundered and structured US$370,000 in bulk cash from an undercover agent delivered to them in four shipments.

The brothers also structured cash deposits into bank accounts by making frequent deposits in amounts less than US$10,000 to avoid a bank reporting requirement that would have alerted law enforcement officers to suspicious activity.

Close scrutiny

Textile dealers in Los Angeles have been under close scrutiny for trade-based financial crime over recent years.

The US treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued in 2014 a geographic targeting order (GTO) that imposed additional reporting and recordkeeping obligations on certain trades and businesses located within the city’s fashion district.

The GTO is intended enhance law enforcement’s ongoing efforts to identify and pursue cases against persons and businesses engaged in often trade-based laundering of US dollars to Mexico and Colombia on behalf of prominent drug trafficking organisations.