Undercover $20 Million Government Sting

Santa Monica and all of Southern California

"Operation Big Spender" - Undercover Government "Sting" involving $20 Million in Laundered Funds between the United States and Columbia

Mr. Randolph's defendant was one of two persons targeted in a carefully coordinated government "sting," which involved hundreds of videotapes and bogus storefront distribution centers set up by FBI agents in Southern California. After over $20 million was laundered through the operation, the government's "take down" resulted in the arrest of Mr. Randolph's client on a yacht off the coast of Venezuela, where he was subsequently transferred to a United States Coast Guard cutter on the open seas. Mr. Randolph argued that the arrest was illegal in that the yacht was still moored at the harbor, and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the United States, rather than underway just outside the harbor, as claimed by FBI agents. In order to prove the defense case, Mr. Randolph traveled to Venezuela and triangulated the boat's position using photographs of the boulders on the breakwater and comparing them with images of the same boulders as seen through the portholes of the ship on the video taken at the time of the client's arrest. The images of the boulders in the breakwater provided a "fingerprint" which Mr. Randolph used to prove that the yacht was still in the harbor at the time of the arrest. The prosecutors subsequently settled for a sentence of time-served, a fraction of the sentence of 20 years initially sought by the government.