TUCSON - Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a Pima County Grand Jury charged Courtney Rochelle Ward with Money Laundering, Fraud, and Forgery for allegedly participating in a national money laundering scheme. The AZAG Border Crimes and Special Investigation Section began an investigation after Ward began depositing and withdrawing more than $140,000 into Wells Fargo bank accounts. Ward is suspected of smurfing, an activity that involves making numerous cash deposits of less than $10,000 at multiple bank branches to avoid reporting requirement triggers.
Between August 2014 and July 2015, Ward allegedly deposited $147,740 in cash into Wells Fargo Bank accounts from various east coast states such as New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Florida, and Washington, D.C. Ward then withdrew $144,355 at various Tucson Wells Fargo branches, usually within one day of each deposit. Ward allegedly distributed the cash to unknown individuals.
The Fraud and Forgery charges against Ward stem from public benefits she received from the State of Arizona. AZAG Special Agents working with investigators from the Arizona Department of Economic Security and Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System discovered Ward received more than $22,000 in Nutrition Assistance and Medicaid Benefits. Ward is accused of failing to report income while receiving public benefits. Ward would not have qualified for public benefits had she reported the income made during the alleged money laundering activity.
Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Klingerman is prosecuting this case.
AZAG Special Agent Kevin Spencer investigated this case and made the arrest.
All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
For additional information, members of the media may contact Mia Garcia, Director of Media Relations at (602) 339-5895 or Mia.Garcia@azag.gov.
Full copy of Ward's indictment.