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posted: 8/17/2012 5:37 PM

Aurora man charged with money laundering

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An Aurora man was arrested this week on charges of laundering more than $140,000.

A statewide grand jury Aug. 9 indicted Mario Alvarez-Vargas on 26 counts of unlawful structuring of a financial transaction to avoid Currency Reporting Act requirements, and 18 counts of money laundering, according to court documents. Under state law, financial institutions are required to report transactions of $10,000 or more to the state police. Money laundering occurs when the defendant knows the money in a transaction is the proceeds of an illegal activity and may be trying to disguise the source of the funds, use the money to further the criminal activity or avoid reporting requirements.

Alvarez, 48, lives in the 900 block of Sard Street.

Bail was initially set by the grand jury at $500,000, but Kane County Judge Marie Kostelny reduced it Tuesday to $100,000. The attorney general's prosecutor has asked that the source of any money used to bail Alvarez out be documented. A hearing on that motion is set for Aug. 29.

According to the indictment, Alvarez would go from branch to branch of Bank of America locations in Batavia, Aurora, Naperville and Plainfield depositing money to accounts belonging to Oro Globe Inc., Precious Gold Filled Inc., and himself.

According to court records, the transactions included:

• Aug. 16, 2011: $14,400 in three transactions, between 1:21 and 4:13 p.m.;

• Oct. 5, 2011: $29,600 in four transactions between 10:12 a.m. and 12:21 p.m.;

• Jan. 17, 2012: $14,500 in two transactions between 2:47 and 3:12 p.m.;

• Feb. 16, 2012: $12,475 in two transactions between 1:22 and 3:39 p.m.;

• March 15, 2012: $27,290 in five deposits, from 10:44 a.m. to 12:38 p.m., to Oro Globe.

He also mailed an air compressor, filled with $50,000, through the U.S. mail on March 15. The indictment did not say where he sent it.

The indictments did not specify what type of criminal activity the money supposedly came from.

All charges are felonies. The most serious is punishable by three to seven years in prison.

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security and the North Central Narcotics Task Force.

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