Money laundering scheme against The Store, Walmart lands man in prison

A California man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for laundering money that two other men stole from central Wisconsin stores by posing as couriers and upper-level managers.

Sinval De Oliveira, 49, of Torrance, California, pleaded guilty to the offense of money laundering on March 4, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Wisconsin. Money laundering involves using financial transactions to conceal the true source, location or ownership of money obtained from other crimes.

Mario Amezcua-Cardenas and his brother, Moises Amezcua-Cardenas, deceived employees and picked up money from businesses throughout Wisconsin, including Walmart and The Store in communities that included Merrill, West Allis, Stevens Point, Wausau and Rib Mountain.

The brothers pretended to work for FedEx and told employees they needed to pay cash before they could deliver packages, according to the criminal complaint prosecutors filed in Marathon County. In some cases, they would pretend to be company management and instruct the employees to take the money from the business to pay for deliveries.

The known loss of the businesses is about $300,000. 

On Dec. 2, 2020, De Oliveira flew to Milwaukee, where he picked up $242,980 from Mario and Moises Amezcua-Cardenas, who had stolen the money from the employees in November and December 2020, according to the news release. De Oliveira used a series of small ATM transactions at Milwaukee-area banks to deposit the cash into a bank account that was the property of a Florida business. The Florida business existed only to collect cash from illegal activities, according to the news release.