NJ Man Admits Guilt in Lottery Scam Money Laundering

Burlington County Man Pleads Guilty to Laundering Proceeds of Mail Fraud Scheme

August 16, 2023

In a statement released today, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger disclosed that a Burlington County, New Jersey resident has confessed to the illegal laundering of funds acquired from a mail fraud operation. Pablo Estrada, a 26-year-old Florence resident, stood before Chief U.S. District Judge Renée Marie Bumb in Camden federal court and entered a guilty plea to one count of money laundering as detailed in an information charge. The case documents and court proceedings unveiled the following information.

From August 2020 to January 2023, Estrada received monetary contributions from victims targeted by various schemes, most notably the lottery scam. This particular fraudulent tactic ensnares victims through the false pretense that they’ve won substantial sums of money, only to be required to pay various accompanying fees and expenses before their alleged winnings can be disbursed. Estrada took the received funds and diverted them into several of his personal bank accounts that were specifically maintained for the purpose of receiving illicit proceeds. To cover his tracks, Estrada then transferred funds to other bank accounts while reserving a portion for himself. The total amount laundered by Estrada through this operation exceeded a staggering $4 million.

Estrada has been charged with money laundering, a criminal offense that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross profits or gross loss, depending on which is greater. Sentencing for this case has been scheduled for December 19, 2023.

During the investigation that led to Estrada’s guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Sellinger expressed gratitude towards the U.S. Postal Inspection Service postal inspectors stationed in Newark, headed by Inspector in Charge Christopher A. Nielsen of the Philadelphia Division. He also thanked the special agents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, led by Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney, as well as the special agents from the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the supervision of Special Agent in Charge Tammy Tomlins in Newark. U.S. Attorney Sellinger further acknowledged the assistance provided by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, led by LaChia L. Bradshaw, and the Florence Township Police Department, directed by Brian Boldizar.

The case is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel A. Friedman from the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Camden.

Defense counsel, Brad V. Shuttleworth Esq., has been retained to represent Estrada in court proceedings.

[Figure: A photograph of a brown wooden gavel on a brown wooden table is displayed]

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