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 commit acts of money laundering.
Rice was a principal in the Sola Caribe company, which promoted the constructing of hurricane-resistant homes in the territory.
The charges against Rice stem from incidents in July of 1992 when he and an unnamed co-conspirator applied to the 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 at $420,000 when the actual cost came to $120,000.
The loan was approved for $495,000 and based upon the inflated figures, checks were made out to the Ohio machinery company.
In order to cash the checks, Rice and his co-conspirator opened a Las Vegas, Nev., checking account in the name of the Ohio machinery company. Afterward, they are alleged to have funneled the loan proceeds through bogus accounts 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' imprisonment on the conspiracy charges and a fine of a half a million dollars or twice the value of the property involved, whichever is greater.
The SBA office of the Inspector General led the eight-year-old investigation.

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