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A Louisiana Reader Reports Spillover White Collar Crime—Laundering Mexican Corruption Profits In Rio Grande Valley
An Anonymous Louisiana Reader [Email him]
Most of us have heard of "spillover crime." It's when, for instance, Mexican drug cartels pay 500 dollars for each Ford F-150 stolen in the U.S. and brought down to Mexico for criminal activity. [Progreso Police bust carjacking ring, by Rafael Carranza, ValleyCentral.com, May 5, 2012] Or when a kidnapping takes place in the U.S., in an attempt to make good with a Mexican cartel for "lost" merchandise. [Gulf Cartel connection to Harlingen kidnapping, ValleyCentral.com, by Sergio Chapa, April 23, 2012]
These crimes involve violence. But there's white collar spillover, too.
While working between 2006 and 2011 as the state treasurer for Coahuila, a Mexican border state, Hector Javier Villarreal fraudulently obtained bank loans for over 200 million dollars. The banks thought the loans were going to the state of Coahuila, but Sr. Villarreal, and others, ran off with it all.
Not 200,000. 200 million. And not pesos, but dollars. (The loans were for more than 3 billion pesos.) The state taxpayers are stuck with the debt.
The avarice is truly breathtaking. With an economy about 10 times the size as Mexico's, it'd be like a corrupt U.S. politician running off with ... 2 BILLION DOLLARS!
What did Sr. Villarreal do with his booty? Well, he transferred a lot to friends and family in the U.S., more specifically south Texas, where they ran around gobbling up shopping centers and building apartment complexes to launder the money.
- Construction stops as feds investigate laundering case, By Laura B. Martinez, The Brownsville Herald, May 01, 2012
- Valley properties among seizure list for fugitive Mexican official, by Action 4 News Staff, ValleyCentral.com, April 30, 2012
The Mexican federal government, the state of Texas, the DEA, and others have opened investigations alleging corruption, money laundering, etc. Sr. Villarreal is currently a fugitive wanted by Interpol. As alluded to in the Brownsville Herald story above, he and his wife were detained earlier this year in Texas with a load of cash, but they were released due to....?
This story potentially could impact Mexico's presidential election scheduled for July 1. Sr. Villarreal's boss during the looting, the governor of Coahuila, was Humberto Moreira. He served as governor from late 2005 until he resigned in early 2011. He resigned to become the national chairman of Mexico's PRI party, to help PRI regain the presidency it lost in 2000 after ruling Mexico for over 70 years.
I'm not kidding. Late last year, as details emerged, the pressure was too great, and he resigned as national chairman of PRI. [Chairman of Mexico’s PRI Party Humberto Moreira Resigns Amid Scandal, Hispanically Speaking News, December 3, 2011]
But now there are allegations that some of the $200 million was directed to the campaign of PRI's candidate for president, Enrique Peña Nieto.El PAN pide indagar si Coahuila dio recursos a campaña de Peña :: El Informador
Maybe they just ran out of U.S. shopping centers to buy. What better way to invest than contribute to the candidate of the party that made it all possible?
Louisiana Reader visits the Rio Grande area two or three times a year. See previously A Louisiana Reader Agrees With Patrick Cleburne— Drudge Is Refusing To Post Immigration Outrages.