Free Consultation Hablamos EspaƱol
Phone: 727-315-1685

Tampa Attorney Pleads Guilty After Falling Victim to DEA Sting

424px-DEA_badge_C.png

A prominent Tampa attorney pled guilty to charges of hiding proceeds from illegal drug deals last week after agreeing to help a DEA agent and an informer set up a private trust for holding cash proceeds from sales of drugs that didn't exist.

Joe M. Gonzales had been an attorney and a civic leader for over three decades when an unnamed federal informant entered his offices in May 2014 asking him to help find a safe place to hide thousands of dollars from a cannabis growing operation. The informant told the 65-year-old attorney that he was facing up to three years in prison on wire-fraud charges, and he wanted the cash available to him after his release. The informant claimed that his cannabis operation netted up to $50,000 per month.

Court records say that Gonzales advised the informant on how to set up a private trust, and obtained a federal TIN for the trust. Gonzales subsequently met with a man the informant said was his brother, but who was actually a DEA agent, and received a cash payment of $14,000. He then deposited $12,000 of that amount into an account established for the trust. According to the plea agreement, Gonzales made several deposits in small amounts so as to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements.

Gonzales signed the plea agreement, which was filed in July. A sentencing date has not yet been set. He could be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison.

Gonzales has been a fixture in the Tampa area civic scene for a number of years. He received the Matilda Garcia Leadership Award from the City of Tampa Mayor's Hispanic Advisory Council in May, and was named Hispanic Man of the Year by the Tampa Hispanic Heritage Inc. Gonzales was a charter member of both organizations. He was also a one-time member of the Tampa Police Chief's Citizens Advisory Committee, the Sheriff's Hispanic Advisory Council, and the Hillsborough County Planning Commission, among other organizations.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been defending individuals against drug-related felonies and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact us today to discuss your Tampa Bay-are state or federal charges.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • American inns of court
  • norml
  • National association of criminal defense lawyers
  • Clearwater bar association
  • Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Let Us Help You

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Clearwater Office
615 Turner Street
Clearwater, FL 33756

Phone: 727-315-1685
Phone: (727) 446-7505
Fax: 727-446-8147
Clearwater Law Office Map

Tampa Office
902 N. Armenia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33609

Phone: 727-315-1685
Map & Directions

Please Direct All Correspondence to the Clearwater Office