Miami jewelry supplier charged with laundering $7 million

A Miami jewelry supplier laundered more than $7 million in drug profits through his business in meetings with more than 20 Colombian drug dealers as federal agents worked undercover to take advantage of the same services, federal prosecutors say.

Raphael Adouth, owner of Rosenthal Jewelers Supply Corp., and office manager Lourdes Meulener Challiol face 30 years to life in prison if convicted of money laundering, filing false tax forms and conspiracy, The Associated Press reports. Bond was set at $1 million for him and $100,000 for her, all of which was pledged before they left their first court hearing on Monday June 7.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yvonne Rodriguez-Shack reportedly told U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Brown that Adouth’s laundering services date back to 1998. The indictment issued May 20 and unsealed Monday listed nearly $1.1 million in six deals since 2001.

“The government’s case is extremely solid,” the prosecutor reportedly told the judge, saying it is backed by undercover tapes. She said Adouth was Israeli and had “great ties to Colombia and Colombian drug dealers.” Prosecutors did not offer the names of any traffickers tied to the case.

Defense attorney Mark Schnapp reportedly responded that Adouth was born in the Brooklyn section of New York, has lived in Miami for years, has visited Israel but is not Israeli and had never been to Colombia.

Adouth is religious, is active in his congregation and is supported by “substantial members of this community,” Schnapp reportedly said.

Prosecutors have frozen the finances for three interconnecting buildings that make up the Rosenthal warehouse, the AP reports. The government wants to seize two bank accounts, property on Bay Harbour Island and the $1.8 million business, which also was indicted.

The bail is guaranteed by the luxury homes of two brothers-in-law in Bal Harbour and North Miami and their father, a 40-year apparel maker who swore he had no financial ties to Adouth, the AP reports.

Richard Moore, Challiol’s attorney, reportedly said outside court, “We’re pretty confident that she’ll be fully exonerated, as we are for Mr. Adouth.”

Arraignment was set for June 21.

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