Home News Local news RICE PLEADS GUILTY TO MONEY LAUNDERING

RICE PLEADS GUILTY TO MONEY LAUNDERING

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Ronald Daren Rice, 54, a former resident of St. Croix and co-owner of a now-defunct construction company, has entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to launder money.
Rice was a principal in the Sola Caribe company, which promoted the construction of hurricane-resistant homes in the territory.
The charges against Rice stem from incidents in July 1992 when he and an unnamed co-conspirator applied to the federal Small Business Administration for a loan to purchase equipment for Sola Caribe, U. S. Attorney James Hurd said Monday.
The proposal listed the value of the machinery to be purchased from an Ohio company at $420,000, when the actual cost totaled $120,000.
The loan was approved for $495,000, based upon the inflated figures. Checks were made out to the Ohio machinery company.
To cash the checks, Rice and his co-conspirator opened a Las Vegas, Nev., checking account in the name of the Ohio machinery company. After doing so, Rice and his co-conspirator are alleged to have funneled the loan proceeds through a bogus account and ultimately used the money for purposes other than those specified by the SBA when the loan was approved.
Rice, who remains on bail pending sentencing, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years on the conspiracy charges and a fine of a half a million dollars or twice the value of the property involved, whichever is greater, Hurd said.
The SBA's Office of Inspector General led the 8-year-old investigation.

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