A comment from reader Not At All Surprised updated the SLABBED post Breaking News Sibley pleads Quilty with a story from the Advocate – and today’s Advocate had more: La. lawyer admits guilt in money-laundering plot.
A Greensburg lawyer pleaded guilty Friday in Houston to laundering $480,000 given to him by an international drug trafficking organization in an effort to buy an aircraft for the ring, federal prosecutors said.
William Hugh Sibley, who faces up to 20 years in prison, is set for sentencing June 4 in U.S. District Court, said Nancy Herrera, executive assistant U.S. attorney in the Houston office.
Sibley, who has a private pilot’s license and owned an aviation business, changed his innocent plea to guilty before U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller on Friday morning under a plea agreement with prosecutors, online court records show.
The agreement was later filed under seal Friday.
The reason Sibley was given the cash to buy the aircraft, he admitted in court Friday, was to hide the true source of the money, which he knew stemmed from illegal activity, Herrera said.
Sibley, 63, originally was indicted under seal in May 2008 in connection with the ring, which prosecutors accused of making “multi-kilogram” cocaine shipments and having a reach into Mexico, Venezuela and the United States…
Sibley, who was not charged in the drug conspiracy, was arrested May 29 on the charge of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. Herrera said Sibley admitted in court Friday to receiving $480,000 in March 2003.
Sibley put the money in escrow but the aircraft was not purchased before one of the ring’s other indicted members, Jorge Gustavo Arevalo-Kessler, allegedly asked for the money back on Flores-Cacho’s behalf, Herrera said…
After Sibley returned the money, he wrote a $400,000 personal check for the aircraft, Herrera said.
James Manasseh, Sibley’s defense attorney, said Friday his client’s life spiraled into depression, other health issues and financial problems after his wife was killed in a car crash in 2001.
Sibley, a plaintiffs attorney who had a hand in several major class-action cases each worth millions of dollars and who played a bit part in the 1990s push to bring a land-based casino to New Orleans, also amassed millions in debt in loans from casinos, unpaid income taxes and other debts since 2001, federal and state court records show…
Manasseh said Sibley has had contact with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel and has agreed to voluntarily surrender his law license soon.
Follow the link to the Advocate for more details in the story.