United States District Court, S.D. New York
November 8, 2004.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
BEATRICE OSPINA, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge
On July 25, 2001, defendant Beatrice Ospina ("Ospina") appeared
before the Honorable Douglas F. Eaton of this district and
allocuted to the conduct charged in both counts of the
superseding indictment filed that same date, consisting of two
counts of conspiracy to launder narcotics proceeds in violation
of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) and 1956(h). Ospina's plea was
accepted on December 10, 2001. Ospina will be sentenced to
forty-one months' imprisonment and three years' supervised
release. A special assessment fee of $200 is mandatory and is due
The undersigned, having reviewed the Presentence Investigation
Report prepared by the United States Probation Office, relies on
the facts as set forth therein. The Offense Conduct
Ospina was a member of a money laundering organization
involving at least five co-conspirators in the New York City area
from at least 1998 through November 2000. The organization's
money-laundering activities were rooted in what is commonly
referred to by law enforcement as the Black Market Peso Exchange
("BMPE"). The BMPE is an illegal currency exchange process which
operates parallel to the official exchange system controlled by
the Colombian government by affording individuals in Colombia who
seek to purchase U.S. dollars a means to do so at rates of
exchange more favorable than those offered through legitimate
The members of the money-laundering organization collected
narcotics proceeds in the New York area from co-conspirators
acting on behalf of Colombian drug traffickers. The cash would
then be laundered by forwarding the proceeds' equivalent in pesos
to traffickers or their representatives in Colombia through
various means. Ospina assisted the money-laundering organization
by physically transporting currency and money orders.
According to the government, the conspiracy involved the
laundering of almost $600,000 in narcotics proceeds. At her
allocution, Ospina admitted to laundering approximately $250,000
as part of this money-laundering organization. Ospina was arrested on November 29, 2000.
Ospina was born in Colombia in 1944 and came to the United
States in 1969. She became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1992. In
the interim, she married Jerome Diamond ("Diamond"). Ospina and
Diamond have three children.
Ospina was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and she has
been receiving treatment for depression since 2001. She has no
reported history of substance abuse.
According to Ospina's financial affidavit, she has a negative
net worth, based in large part on credit card debt, a mortgage on
the family's home, and debt to health-care providers. She also
has a negative net monthly cash flow and a number of judgments
and collection accounts against her.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New
York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Bureau of
Identification, Ospina has no prior criminal convictions. The Guidelines
The November 1, 2000 edition of the United States Sentencing
Commission, Guidelines Manual ("U.S.S.G.") has been utilized in
this case for calculation purposes, in accordance with U.S.S.G. §
The guideline for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) is found
in U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1. Pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(a)(2), the base
offense level is 20.
As Ospina knew or believed that the funds involved in the
offense conduct were the proceeds of an unlawful activity
involving the manufacture, importation, or distribution of
narcotics, the offense level is increased by three levels.
As the value of funds for which Ospina was responsible is
approximately $250,000, a two-level increase is warranted,
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 2S1.1(b)(2)(C).
Based on Ospina's plea allocution, she has shown recognition of
responsibility for the offense. Based on her timely notification
of her intention to plead guilty and because the base offense
level is greater than 16, the offense level is reduced by three
levels pursuant to U.S.S.G. §§ 3E1.1(a) and 3E1.1(b). The resulting adjusted offense level is 22.
As Ospina has no known criminal convictions, she has zero
criminal history points and a Criminal History Category of I.
Based on these calculations, the guideline range for
imprisonment is forty-one to fifty-one months. The statutory
maximum term of imprisonment for both counts of the superseding
indictment is 20 years, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1956.
A term of supervised release of not more than three years is
required if a sentence of imprisonment is imposed, pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 3583(b)(2). The guideline range for a term of supervised
release is at least two years but not more than three years,
pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.2(a)(2). If a sentence of imprisonment
of one year or less is imposed, a term of supervised release is
not required but is optional, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5D1.1(b).
Supervised release is required if a term of imprisonment of more
than one year is imposed or when required by statute, pursuant to
U.S.S.G. § 5D1.1(a).
Ospina is eligible for not less than one nor more than five
years' probation by statute, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3561(c)(1).
Because the offense is a felony, pursuant to
18 U.S.C. § 3561(c)(1) one of the following must be imposed as a condition of
probation unless extraordinary circumstances exist: a fine, restitution, or community service. Because the applicable
guideline range is in Zone D of the Sentencing Table, Ospina is
not eligible for probation, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5B1.1, cmt. n.
The statutory maximum fine for both counts is $500,000,
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3571. The fine range for the instant
offense under the guidelines is from $7,500 to $500,000, pursuant
to U.S.S.G. §§ 5E1.2(c)(3)(A) and 5E1.2(c)(4).
Subject to Ospina's ability to pay, the expected costs to the
government of any imprisonment, probation, or supervised release
shall be considered in imposing a fine, pursuant to U.S.S.G. §
5E1.2(d)(7). The most recent advisory from the Administrative
Office of the United States Courts suggests a monthly cost of
$1,931.97 to be used for imprisonment, a monthly cost of $292.21
for supervision, and a monthly cost of $1,590.66 for community
A special assessment of $100 on each count is mandatory,
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3013.
Pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act
of 1994, all offenders on probation, parole or supervised release
for offenses committed after September 13, 1994 are required to
submit to one drug test within fifteen days of commencement of
probation, parole or supervised release and at least two drug tests thereafter for use of a controlled
substance, unless ameliorated or suspended by the court due to
its determination that the defendant poses a low risk of future
substance abuse as provided in 18 U.S.C. §§ 3563(a)(5) and
For the instant offense, Ospina is sentenced to forty-one
months' imprisonment and three years' supervised release. A
special assessment fee of $200 payable to the United States is
mandatory and due immediately. As Ospina lacks financial
resources and in consideration of the factors listed in
18 U.S.C. § 3572, no fine is imposed.
As mandatory conditions of supervised release, Ospina shall (1)
abide by the standard conditions of supervision (1-13); (2) not
commit another federal, state, or local crime; (3) not illegally
possess a controlled substance; and (4) not possess a firearm or
The mandatory drug testing condition is suspended based on the
determination that Ospina poses a low risk of future substance
Ospina shall participate in a mental health program approved by
the United States Probation Office. Ospina shall continue to take any prescribed medications unless otherwise
instructed by her health-care provider. She shall contribute to
the costs of services rendered not covered by third-party payment
if she has the ability to pay. The release of available
psychological and psychiatric evaluations and reports to the
health-care provider are hereby authorized.
Ospina shall report to the nearest Probation Office within 72
hours of release from custody and shall be supervised by the
district of residence.
This sentence is subject to modification at the sentencing
hearing now set for November 8, 2004.
It is so ordered.
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