A Colorado man was sentenced to federal prison for his role in a money laundering conspiracy that occurred back in 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Colorado.
James Albert Witte, 69, of Wray, was sentenced to 26 months behind bars on conspiracy charges to commit money laundering, according to a press release. Judge Raymond P. Moore sentenced Witte on Friday.
Court documents say, from January 2020 until September 2020, the defendant was a part of a conspiracy to launder funds obtained from a government official impersonation scheme.
The victims were contacted by telephone and lured into believing they were under investigation by “agents” of federal law enforcement agencies.
Court documents also revealed, the conspirators told these victims their identities had been connected to a criminal incident, their imminent arrest and deportation from the United States were ordered by law enforcement, and the only way to avoid arrest or deportation was to pay large sums of money, as instructed to the “government.”
The victims were instructed to withdraw cash from their banks and mail the money to various addresses, which were revealed to be Walgreens stores in northeastern Colorado.
According to court documents, Witte’s role in the scheme was to use fake identification cards provided to him by a conspirator to pick up victims’ packages of cash mailed to the Walgreens stores.
He used some of the cash to purchase money orders, which one of his co-defendants deposited into third-party accounts, according to the press release.
The cash was contained in 33 packages picked up by Witte, the shipping costs for those packages, and shipping costs for another 15 packages that were either intercepted by law enforcement or a victim, resulted in a loss to the victims of $763,089.21.
Witte received a percentage of the cash in each package he picked up, court documents unveiled.
Witte was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $763,089.21 in restitution to the victims of the scheme, according to the press release.
This investigation was conducted jointly with investigators from the Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service, Department of Homeland Security-OIG, and various other federal and law enforcement agencies.