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Couple Arraigned on Money Laundering Charges

July 16, 1992

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A couple accused of being part of a ring that allegedly laundered up to $500 million in drug money was returned to the United States from Switzerland to face charges.

Stephen and Donna Saccoccia were arraigned Wednesday on federal money laundering, racketeering and conspiracy charges. U.S. Magistrate Jacob Hagopian entered innocent pleas on behalf of the two, who had no attorney.

Saccoccia is charged with 150 counts of money laundering, racketeering and conspiracy; his wife, with 73. He would face life in prison if convicted and she could be sentenced to up to 40 years, said U.S. Attorney Lincoln Almond.

Authorities say Saccoccia, a Rhode Island precious metals dealer, was head of a ring that laundered up to $500 million from the Colombian-based Cali and Medellin cocaine cartels between 1989 and 1991.

Prosecutors said about 25 banks were involved in the United States, Switzerland, England, Colombia and the Caribbean.

Fifty people have been charged, said U.S. Marshal David Libby.

The couple was extradited Tuesday from Geneva, Switzerland, where they were arrested in November.

A hearing was set for July 17.

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