U.S. District Judge James Moody has sentenced Mary Kathryn Marr (42, Miami) to 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. The Court also ordered Marr to forfeit various assets, which are traceable to proceeds of the offense and, as part of her sentence, entered a money judgment in the amount of $1.5 million, representing proceeds Marr received as a result of the charged criminal conduct. In addition, the Court ordered Marr to pay restitution to victims in the amount of $14,511,754.05. Marr pleaded guilty in June 2021.
According to court documents, Marr was the leader of a large, international fraud and money laundering ring that operated out of the United States and abroad. Marr contracted with various international “boiler rooms” to launder fraud proceeds that she and other conspirators had obtained from foreign victims, primarily by selling worthless investments. Marr and her conspirators employed a mass-marketing scam in which high-pressure sales techniques originating out of the boiler rooms were used to defraud individuals who believed that they were investing substantial amounts of money in regulated financial products or markets, particularly shares of stocks. In reality, the investments were a sham and the victims received nothing. The majority of the victims that Marr and her conspirators targeted were located in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and countries in Asia.
Marr and her co-conspirator, Michel Marc Chateau, who was charged in the same case, operated a network of funnel bank accounts in the United States in the names of shell companies into which the boiler room agents instructed victims to send their money. In some instances, Marr, using fake personas, spoke with the victims herself to convince the victims to send additional funds based on fraudulent representations and high-pressure tactics. The victims’ funds were then laundered through more bank accounts and sent overseas. Marr and Chateau recruited various individuals to open and operate funnel bank accounts in Florida and other states.
Electronic communications obtained during the investigation revealed that Marr had received a set percentage of each victim’s wire transfer that had been sent to the bank accounts in the United States. Once the victims’ funds had been laundered through Marr’s network of bank accounts in the United States, Marr would arrange for most of the funds to be sent back to the boiler rooms and their employees overseas.
In total, Marr and her co-conspirators unlawfully obtained approximately $14.5 million from victims through various boiler room fraud schemes between 2015 and 2018. Including funds that had originated from other funnel accounts, the accounts engaged in money laundering transactions totaling more than $20 million.
On November 1, 2018, Serbian authorities arrested Marr in Belgrade, Serbia pursuant to an INTERPOL Red Notice that had been issued by the U.S. Department of Justice. Marr was extradited to Tampa in April 2019.
“Thanks to a collaborative investigative effort between HSI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation, this sophisticated transnational money laundering organization was dismantled,” said HSI Tampa acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge Timothy Westlove.
“This sentence should stand as a warning to those who engage in nefarious activities,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne. “As proven by this partnership with HSI, we will continue to work together to bring criminals to justice. Marr’s sentencing is the final chapter in this complex international scam, which will hopefully pave the way to the healing process for all of those impacted by these heinous crimes.”
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs. Assistant United States Attorneys James Muench and Suzanne Nebesky handled the forfeiture. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in Serbia to secure the arrest of Marr in Serbia and her extradition to the United States.