A professor specializing in drug crime used his knowledge to launder $2.5 million of dirty Venezuelan money, federal prosecutors claim

University of MiamiLance King/Getty Images

  • Professor Bruce Bagley wrote a textbook on drug trafficking and organized crime.
  • Now federal prosecutors claim he used his knowledge to launder $2.5 million of dirty Venezuelan cash, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • The professor accepted bank transfers from accounts based in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, prosecutors claim. They say he then sent 90% of the funds to an account held by an unknown person and pocketed the remaining 10%.
  • Bagley is listed as an international studies professor at the University of Miami. His textbook, titled “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Violence in the Americas Today,” was published by University Press of Florida in June 2015.
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University of Miami professor Bruce Bagley wrote a textbook on drug trafficking and organized crime. He’s now accused of laundering $2.5 million by federal prosecutors, according to a Bloomberg report.

The international studies professor was charged with laundering funds sourced from Venezuelan corruption and bribery between November 2017 and October 2018. Prosecutors allege Bagley opened bank accounts through a company he owned and accepted payments from accounts based in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, both held by an unknown Colombian.

Bagley, 73, then withdrew 90% of the funds through cashier’s checks payable to an unknown person’s account, prosecutors claim. They say he then kept the remaining 10% of funds.

Bagley’s primary account in the scheme was shut down in October 2018 for suspicious activity, but the professor resumed the transfers through a new account the following December, according to the court statement, which was reviewed by Bloomberg.

The professor faces as long as 2o years in prison if convicted. The charges were filed in Manhattan federal court Monday.

“As we allege, Bagley, an American professor, contributed to the success of illegal activity overseas, carried out against the Venezuelan people, by facilitating access to illicitly obtained funds, and profiting from his role in the crime,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in the statement obtained by Bloomberg. “About the only lesson to be learned from Professor Bagley today is that involving oneself in public corruption, bribery, and embezzlement schemes is going to lead to an indictment.”

The professor “is on administrative leave” from the University of Miami in light of the Monday indictment, the university’s executive communications director Megan Ondrizek said in an emailed statement.

“As this is a personal matter in an ongoing investigation, the University has no further comment at this time,” she added.

Bagley’s textbook, titled “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Violence in the Americas Today,” was published by University Press of Florida in June 2015.

The professor is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering.

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