A federal grand jury indicted 39 defendants in an international money laundering case that includes one person accused of concealing terrorist financing, the U.S. attorney's office announced Thursday.
The investigation resulted in charges of money laundering, conspiracy to bribe a public official and operating unlicensed money transmission businesses, according to a news release from the federal prosecutor's office.
A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein declined to comment. Rosenstein scheduled a news conference for later Thursday to discuss the case.
According to court documents, cooperating witnesses posed as drug smugglers, cigarette smugglers and other criminals, and in one case as a terrorist, and asked the defendants to help transfer money between Maryland, New York, Spain and Australia using an informal system known as "hawala," according to court documents.
One transaction in Barcelona involved the transfer of 333,830 euros, or more than $450,000, according to the indictment.
Abdul Rehman, one of the defendants, was the primary point of contact for cooperating witnesses and controlled all aspects of the hawala transactions, from receipt of the money from cooperating witnesses in Maryland and New York, to its delivery to the cooperating witnesses or their designated representative overseas, the indictment said.
Raids related to the case were conducted Thursday at two gas station convenience stores and a home in Snow Hill, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, said Sgt. Ed Schreier, a spokesman for the Worcester County Sheriff's Office, which assisted in the raids.