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Lawsuit: Mexican banker ran scheme to launder stolen money in San Antonio, South Florida

Former Mexican banker Rafael Olvera Amezcua is accused of stealing $65 million from depositors “to

build a money-laundering empire” in San Antonio and Florida, according to a lawsuit filed in a Florida


The lawsuit alleges that Olvera Amezcua, who lives in Miami, sits at the top of a racketeering conspiracy

to hide tens of millions of dollars in theft from a savings and loan he owned in Mexico. He used the

money to purchase more than 100 pieces of U.S. real estate, including 26 properties in San Antonio,

according to the lawsuit.

Last year, a San Antonio Express-News investigation found that companies connected to Olvera, who

had been charged with money laundering in Mexico, owned more than 100 pieces of real estate,

including South Florida houses and commercial properties and a condominium in the Trump Towers in

Sunny Isles Beach, near Miami.

Olvera Amezcua’s savings and loan, Ficrea, was taken over by Mexican banking regulators in 2014. The

Florida lawsuit was filed by a Mexican attorney who was appointed as a trustee for Ficrea and is

liquidating the financial institution’s assets to repay depositors.

“The Enterprise, orchestrated in large part through Olvera Amezcua’s base of operations in Miami-Dade

County, Florida, involved the transfer of millions of dollars stolen from Ficrea to the United States and

elsewhere, the receipt of those stolen funds in the United States, and the use of those stolen proceeds

to buy and create companies controlled by Olvera Amezcua, which were then utilized to purchase

homes, investment properties, yachts, automobiles, and other assets,” the lawsuit states.

Also listed as defendants are Olvera Amezcua’s son Rafael Olvera Silva, wife Susana Silva Tortolero de

Olvera, real estate agents and title companies that allegedly helped Olvera Amezcua arrange land deals,

and more than 40 companies that the lawsuit alleges Olvera Amezcua used to buy assets with the money

stolen from Ficrea.

The Olveras could not be reached and a San Antonio lawyer who represented them in their business

dealings said he was unable to speak to Olvera Amezcua on Tuesday afternoon.

In San Antonio, the companies connected to Olvera Amezcua own houses, luxury automobiles and an

office condo on Paesanos Parkway on the North Side.

A Mexican court threw out the money laundering charges against Olvera Amezcua. A spokesman for

Mexico’s attorney general’s office didn’t respond phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

In November, Andy Tiwari, a San Antonio attorney representing Olvera Amezcua in his business

dealings, told the Express-News, “Mr. Olvera maintains his innocence against any alleged wrongdoing,

but we can’t comment further until the Mexican courts conclude their work.”

The Florida lawsuit, filed by trustee Javier Navarro Velasco, outlines an alleged scheme to spirit money

stolen from Ficrea out of the country before Mexico’s banking authorities could find it.

More than 6,000 investors lost more than $160 million, according to Mexico’s banking commission. The

money went to the U.S., Spain and Great Britain, according to the regulators. Mexico’s banking

commission seized real estate, yachts, vehicles and personal property connected to Olvera Amezcua and

Ficrea, according to the lawsuit.

“However, while substantial, the recovered assets are significantly less than the total amounts owed to

Ficrea,” the lawsuit states.

Navarro is asking for damages, interest and attorneys fees and is asking that a judge put Olvera

Amezcua’s properties in a trust to be sold.

“While we have started today with this group, it should be known that we are going after every last cent

of Ficrea funds, no matter where it is, who has it, or how long it takes us to recover it,” Navarro said in a


Echoing allegations made by Mexico’s banking commission, the lawsuit accuses Olvera Amezcua of

operating a complicated scheme to route Ficrea loans through two other Olvera Amezcua-owned

companies, Leadman Trade SA de CV and Monka Comercia SA de CV. When the loans were repaid, they

would go to those companies, not Ficrea, the lawsuit alleges.

In 2013, an audit uncovered irregularities in Ficrea’s finances, according to the lawsuit. In response, the

lawsuit alleges, Olvera Amezcua began moving funds out of Mexico. The lawsuit outlines $47 million in

711 wire transfers by Baus and Jackman SA de CV in 2013 and 2014 to bank accounts in the U.S. as well as

$4.5 million in 38 wire transfers to the U.S. and 1.2 million euros, about $1.6 million, in 24 wire transfers

to Spain by Leadman Trade SA de CV.

“These wire transfers did not correspond to any legitimate business purpose, and were made, knowing

that the funds represented monies stolen from Ficrea, for the purpose of transferring the stolen

proceeds of the scheme beyond the reach of the plaintiff,” Navarro alleges in the lawsuit.

Most of the money from Leadman Trade SA de CV went to U.S. company Leadman Trade Inc., according

to the lawsuit. Leadman Trade Inc. was created in Florida in 2012 with Olvera Amezcua as its director

and Leadman Trade SA de CV as its president, according to records filed with the Florida secretary of

state. Olvera Silva, the son, is now Leadman Trade’s president, treasurer and director.

In a filing with the Texas secretary of state, Leadman Trade Inc. disclosed that it owns 34 corporations

and limited liability companies, most of which own real estate. Eleven additional companies list

Leadman Tread Inc. as their president or manager.

The lawsuit alleges that Olvera Amezcua used money stolen from Ficrea to buy 112 pieces of U.S.

property, including entire residential blocks in Florida, a condo in Las Vegas and pricey homes with golf

course views on San Antonio’s North Side. He also is accused of using the money to buy a boat and 20

vehicles, including Ferarris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis and a Rolls Royce.

The lawsuit was filed under Florida’s state Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, a

maneuver likely brought on by a recent Supreme Court case about a similar federal racketeering statue,

known as RICO, said Jaime Peña, a McAllen lawyer involved in a similar case in San Antonio.

In RJR Nabisco Inc. v. The European Community, the court found that in order for a lawsuit over an

alleged civil violation committed abroad to continue in a U.S. courtroom, the plaintiffs must show they

suffered injury in the U.S.

“With globalization, what’s going on in the world and how companies are so connected, we’re starting to

see a lot of this cross-jurisdictional work being done,” Peña said. “So it’s causing a big problem for the


Written by
Jason Buch - Express News San Antonio