Valley attorney convicted of laundering drug money
A Valley-based attorney has been convicted of money laundering offenses by a jury in federal court.
Ralph Crozier, 62, an attorney based in Seymour, was found guilty of one count each of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and attempt to launder monetary instruments.
The verdict was announced in New Haven federal court on Sept. 25. The trial started on Sept. 16.
Each charge carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million, so Crozier could potentially face up to 40 years in jail and $2 million in fines.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18 by Chief U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall. Crozier is currently free on a $200,000 bond.
Solicited an investment
According to the evidence introduced during the trial, law enforcement began investigating Crozier after receiving information from a convicted narcotics trafficker who was in federal custody.
The narcotics trafficker stated that he was a former client of Crozier and that Crozier had convinced him to invest $30,000 in cash into Crozier’s law partner’s solar energy company, according to prosecutors.
Crozier allegedly knew that the cash was derived from his client’s narcotics trafficking activities.
Trafficker’s mother wore a wire
In 2013, the narcotics trafficker’s mother agreed to wear a recording device while meeting with Crozier to discuss her son’s prior investment.
On April 11, 2013, the woman brought $11,000 in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) funds to a meeting with Crozier, representing that her son had hidden the cash and wanted her to bring it to Crozier.
The conversation during the meeting made it clear that the money had been illegally derived from drug dealing, prosecutors said. Crozier allegedly accepted the cash and told the woman that he was going to make out the receipt in her son’s name, telling her, “I don’t want to put your name on anything because I don’t want you involved with hiding things from the feds.”
Crozier was arrested shortly after the woman left his office.
DEA and FBI involved
The case was investigated by the DEA’s Bridgeport High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force and the FBI.
It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rahul Kale and Robert Spector, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Rombeau.