After being charged in two separate real estate money-laundering probes connected to the mafia in Italy, Antonio Velardo and three other associates soon found that the charges weren't going to stop them from focusing on South Florida as a new target to snap up millions of dollars worth in property, the Miami Herald reports.
Now, companies tied to the four men have bought over 130 properties in Florida since 2012, with a bulk of them being in Miami-Dade County. According to the Herald, 100 of the properties were bought after the charges were filed.
"Prosecutors alleged that Velardo’s activity was tied to the fearsome ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful southern Italian criminal organization that dominates the Calabrian region and has been described by U.S. officials as 'Europe’s most dangerous organized crime syndicate.'" the Herald reports. "Velardo was charged alongside lawyer Francesco L’Abbate and accountant Domenico Musarella in one of the probes, while the fourth man, Jacopo Iasiello, was picked up on a wiretap discussing Velardo’s desire to present a gold chain and Rolex watch as gifts at the baptism of the grandson of an ‘Ndrangheta boss, which Velardo described as a "political operation." Iasiello wasn’t charged in either of the probes."
As the Herald points out, the activity of the men was made known thanks to the release of the the “Pandora Papers,” which was a massive leak of offshore financial documents that revealed how the ultrawealthy evade taxes and launder money.
Read more at the Miami Herald.