A precious metals trader based in the Los Angeles Jewelry District pleaded guilty Monday to a federal money laundering charge after being caught in an undercover operation where he agreed to conceal what was described to him as more than $200,000 in drug trafficking proceeds.
Saeed Elyahouzadeh, 53, of Westwood, owner-operator of R.S.D. Trading Co., entered his guilty plea to a felony money laundering count before U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Between April 2015 and December 2017, Elyahouzadeh took part in four financial transactions with the intent to launder illicit drug proceeds through the use of his jewelry business, according to his plea agreement. An undercover federal agent told Elyahouzadeh that the proceeds being laundered were the result of drug trafficking, court papers show.
Elyahouzadeh agreed to launder the money in exchange for between 5 percent and 6 percent of the given amount. In the weeks following each meeting with the undercover agent, Elyahouzadeh arranged for multiple checks to be deposited into the bank account that the agent provided, according to federal prosecutors.
Fischer is scheduled to sentence Elyahouzadeh on July 15. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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