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Bank insider charged with accepting bribes to facilitate millions of dollars of money laundering

SOMERSET COUNTY, NJ – A Somerset County-based employee of an international financial institution was arrested Monday for accepting bribes to facilitate millions of dollars of money laundering, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.

Oscar Marcelo Nunez-Flores, 32, of North Plainfield was charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of accepting bribes as an employee of a financial institution. He appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III in Newark federal court and was released on $150,000 unsecured bond, Sellinger said.

“As alleged, Nunez corruptly exploited his position inside a bank to help launder millions of dollars in drug money in exchange for bribes. Today’s arrest shows that my office will expose and prosecute those who abuse positions of trust and seek to corrupt our financial institutions,” Sellinger said.

“The DEA will continue to work diligently to pursue and dismantle all elements from Drug Trafficking Organizations,” Special Agent in Charge for the DEA Caribbean Division Denise Foster said. “Money launderers help drug trafficking organizations flourish and poison our communities. We will continue to allocate all our law enforcement resources to make a greater impact in vulnerable areas where criminal organizations dedicated to drug trafficking are causing greater damage.”

“IRS – Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners will continue to work together to hold accountable and disrupt bad actors like the defendant, who allegedly accepted bribes to facilitate millions of dollars of money laundering,” Tammy Tomlins, Special Agent in Charge of IRS – Criminal Investigation Newark Field Office, said. “We are committed to protecting the integrity of our financial institutions by investigating and prosecuting individuals involved in financial crimes.”

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Nunez works for an international financial institution, at a branch located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Starting in early 2022, Nunez exploited his position as a bank employee to facilitate money laundering activities in exchange for bribes. Nunez used his position and inside access to open bank accounts in the names of shell companies with nominee owners. Those accounts were then used to launder narcotics proceeds, including to Colombia.

Nunez assisted the money laundering efforts by giving those who bribed him online access to the accounts, along with dozens of debit cards for the accounts that were later used to withdraw cash from ATMs in Colombia. Nunez received thousands of dollars in bribes for each account he opened.  The investigation has revealed that millions of dollars were laundered to Colombia through accounts opened by Nunez since early 2022.

The charge of money laundering conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the amount involved in the offense, whichever is greater. The charge of bank bribery carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, or three times the value of the thing given, whichever is greater.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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