MIAMI — A former Fort Lauderdale police detective who pleaded guilty to money laundering has been sentenced to 18 months in state prison, followed by 10 years supervised probation.
Jorge Reyes, 32, was an eight-year veteran police detective assigned to a special multi-agency task force that investigates money laundering, but he is now serving prison time for that crime himself.
Officials with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office are not providing details of the plea agreement. They would not say whether Reyes is cooperating with prosecutors to implicate other officers in any ongoing investigations.
Ed Griffith, spokesperson for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, said in an email, “We would never discuss information relating to any ongoing investigations.”
Reyes’ attorney, David Macey of Miami, did not respond to emails or messages left at his Miami office seeking comment.
Reyes resigned from the police force on Dec. 22, 2008, after pleading guilty to money laundering and conspiracy on Dec. 18.
At the Dec. 18 hearing, Reyes was booked into the county jail and released later that day on his own recognizance without having to post bail.
His release was pending a Feb. 13 sentencing court date.
Also at the Dec. 18 court hearing, a judge approved a motion to seal the case, making the records and files confidential.
During the Feb. 13 hearing at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Jacqueline Hogan Scola gave Reyes his sentence, and also required him to pay $583 in court costs.
The South Florida Times has confirmed that after Reyes was sentenced, he was immediately taken into custody inside the courtroom. He is being held as inmate number 090013143 at the 1300-bed, Turner Gilford Knight Correctional Center at 7000 N.W. 41st Street in Miami, awaiting transfer to a state prison.
When Reyes turned himself in to authorities on Dec. 18, he was charged with one count of money laundering of more than $100,000 within a 12-month period, records show.
The exact amount of funds has not been disclosed, but it is believed to be more than $750,000, according to sources familiar with the investigation who did not wish to be identified.
The events first began unfolding on Oct. 9, when 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.
Another man, Luis E. Calvo Jr., who stood accused as an accomplice in the crime with Reyes, also accepted a plea deal in connection with the case and was scheduled to be sentenced at a Jan. 16 hearing. That court date has now been moved back to March 4, but 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 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.”
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 money-laundering investigation was based in Miami-Dade County.
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.
The connection between Reyes’ official duties and the criminal investigation into his money-laundering activities has not yet been clarified, and officials are neither confirming nor denying any connections.
According to sources, 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, 2008, 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.
Reyes was born in Havana, Cuba and is a naturalized United States citizen. Hired on Oct. 16, 2000, Reyes rose through the ranks, worked out of the city’s detective bureau, and was assigned to the money-laundering task force. He has also worked in SWAT and other elite units of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department.
With the exception of two vehicle accidents in 2001, and a reprimand for failing to completely fill out a police report in 2006, Reyes’ personnel record and employment history have been without incident. Reyes received annual compensation of $117,140, which included health, pension and other benefits.
In previous interviews, Fort Lauderdale City Attorney Harry Stewart said there will be a review of pending cases involving Reyes to determine if the cases would go forward in light of the fact that Reyes has lost credibility as a witness.
Photo: Jorge Reyes