Updated: Dec 4, 2019
In a sadly ironic twist, Bruce Bagley, a professor of international studies at the University of Miami, who was widely known as an expert on organized crime and corruption in Latin America, was charged with laundering money from Venezuela. Bagley, who claims his innocence, allegedly laundered somewhere to the tune of $2.5 million, the proceeds of foreign bribes and other illicit activities, into the U.S., and kept 10% as commission for himself.
Bagley was a contributor to various publications on the topics of drug trafficking, organized crime, and violence in Latin America. He also served as a consultant to several government agencies, including the FBI, on these topics.
According to prosecutors, Bagely opened bank accounts in the name of what was likely a shell company that he owned, and which he used to accept payments from other foreign accounts. He then transferred the money to yet other accounts in order to conceal the nature, source, and ownership of the funds. In money laundering speak, this was classic placement and layering.
Bagley profited from his alleged actions, all while furthering the illegal activity and corruption which he wrote about, in the very region he criticized for not doing enough to implement reform.
Bagley is charged with two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy. If convicted, he could serve up to twenty years in prison. In the meantime, he has been placed on administrative leave by the university where he taught.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the courtroom. Meanwhile, this case does beg the question: Was he really an expert on the subject if he ultimately got caught for it?
To read more about Professor Bagley, and the money laundering charges he faces, see the article here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article237501044.html