FORT LAUDERDALE — A Fort Lauderdale police detective who was assigned to investigate money laundering has pleaded guilty to laundering money himself, and has resigned from the force.
Jorge Reyes, a 32-year-old, eight-year veteran, finalized his negotiated surrender with prosecutors in the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office on Dec. 16.
Officials with the State Attorney’s Office would not provide details on the plea agreement, or say whether Reyes is cooperating with prosecutors to implicate other people in the ongoing investigation.
“At this point we are still looking at it and we are unable to comment, or make any statements whatsoever,” said Ed Griffith, spokesman for the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office. “But it’s my understanding that he did plead guilty.”
Reyes turned himself in to authorities at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building at 1351 N.W. 12th St. in Miami on Dec. 18. He was charged with one count of money laundering of more than $100,000 within a 12-month period, records show.
During that hearing, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola remanded Reyes into custody. He was booked into the county jail and released on his own recognizance without having to post bail.
A status hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.
Reyes could not be reached for comment, and his attorney, David Macey, did not respond to emails or messages at his Miami office.
Fort Lauderdale officials have not responded to requests for comment on the case.
Money laundering is the practice of making financial transactions to conceal the identity, source and/or destination of money. It is often associated with organized crime. The money being laundered has usually been obtained through illegal activity.
On Oct. 9, Reyes was placed on paid administrative leave after the Fort Lauderdale Police Department received notice of the investigation from the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
According to Fraternal Order of Police Union President Jack Lokiensky, Reyes has now submitted his resignation from the police department.
“I can’t comment on it because it is an ongoing criminal investigation, but I can tell you he did submit his resignation, but I’m not sure of the effective date or where it stands at this point, but I don’t believe he is a police officer at this point,” Lokiensky explained.
Reyes’ resignation came after the South Florida Times published details of the criminal investigation in its Nov. 28 edition.
The newspaper explained in that story that another man, Luis E. Calvo Jr., who stands accused as an accomplice in the crime with Reyes, also accepted a plea deal in connection with the case and is scheduled to be sentenced at a Jan. 16 hearing.
During a court appearance on Oct. 16, Calvo pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. He acknowledged guilt before the judge and prosecutors about his and Reyes’ role in the case.
The exact amount of funds involved is not known, but the one count to which Calvo pleaded guilty reads, in part: “Luis Eusebio Calvo, on or about October 7, 2008, in the County and State aforesaid, did conspire, combine, confederate and agree with others, to wit: Jorge Reyes, to transport or attempt to transport a monetary instrument or funds and knowing monetary instrument or funds involved in the transportation represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity.”
A South Florida Times investigation revealed that Reyes and Calvo, both of Miami, have been under investigation for months, but as a result of a judge’s order sealing the case, details are scarce. Nevertheless, the newspaper confirmed through court records and sources close to the investigation that assistant state attorneys John N. Perikles and Howard Rosen are the prosecutors handling the cases.
Reyes was one of two Fort Lauderdale detectives assigned to a special task force that consists of state, local and federal agencies whose primary focus is to investigate and break up money-laundering rings. The connection between Reyes’ official duties and the criminal investigation into his money-laundering activities has not yet been clarified.
According to sources close to the case who did not wish to be identified, Reyes recruited Calvo and then provided him with confidential and privileged information that allowed him to pick up money from a suspect who was under surveillance by the money-laundering task force.
The investigation culminated in the early-morning hours of Oct. 8 in the parking lot of the Broward Mall in Plantation, where Calvo picked up an undisclosed amount of cash from another person, sources said. As the monetary exchange unfolded, Reyes reportedly sat in a separate vehicle, overseeing the exchange from a distance.
Pictured at the top of the story is Jorge Reyes. Pictured in the middle of the story is Luis Calvo.