Records of a private plane rental, concert videos, bank transfers, text messages and a recorded conversation are some of the evidence that the Federal Criminal Police Office (FBI) says he has to blame the famous music producer Angel del Villar for allegedly working with a Mexican businessman who is charged with money laundering Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG).
Del Villar, 41, was arrested by FBI agents on Tuesday, later appeared in federal court in Los Angeles and was released on $100,000 bail. The government accuses him break the kingpin law by conspiring to conduct transactions with a drug dealer blacklisted by the Department of the Treasury’s Office for Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Neither the entrepreneur nor his label delete records have talked about it. This Wednesday, the company published information on its Facebook page about its artists, some of whom are nominated for a music award that will be presented soon. Del Records did not respond to messages from Univision Noticias seeking comment on the criminal case.
Del Villar’s arrest comes two years after federal agents raided his company offices and home. Del Records is known for Producing songs about Mexican drug dealers. Among his wide array of talent are Ulices Chaidez, T3R Element and Lenin Ramírez.
The FBI also arrested on Tuesday Luca Scalissi, CFO of Del Records talent agency called Del Entertainment. He was released on $35,000 bail.
Both Del Villar and Scalisi would have collaborated Jesus Perez Alvear a promoter who controls diamond galistics, also known as Ticket Premier to give concerts in Mexico.
They did, despite the fact that Pérez Alvear and his company have been on file with OFAC since 2018 laundering money from the CJNG and its financial arm Los Cuinis, according to the Ministry of Justice.
A singer interviewed by the FBI
FBI Agent Lauren Radke notes in an affidavit that this has been the case since March 2019 Pérez Alvear was responsible for the promotion and organization of concerts in Mexico which featured artists and musicians affiliated with or under contract with Del Entertainment.
One of those singers identified in the indictment as ‘Person A’, was interviewed by Agent Radke and other police officers at the airport in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 19, 2018, while returning from Mexico. Radke describes showing the artist an OFAC document and warning him that the law prohibits him from doing business, directly or indirectly, with the owner of the Gallística Diamante.
But this artist continued to travel to Mexico to sing at Pérez Alvear concerts.
Through a federal registry, the FBI found a press release prepared by Del Records on behalf of the singer identified as “Individual A” stating that he would stop singing at Pérez Alvears shows because of the OFAC designation. This action also referred to the popular singer Julian Alvarez, which was removed from the Treasury Department’s blacklist until a few days ago.
The statement, prepared by Del Records, said that this artist “had no choice but to obey the laws of the United States and not allow any person whom the Treasury Department considers sanctioned to make reservations for any of my shows.”
This statement by Angel Del Villar’s company was never released, according to the FBI.
The concert in Aguascalientes
Other evidence collected by the FBI is audio data found on a Del Records employee’s cell phone. In that voice message, recorded on April 19, 2018, Scalisi says Del Villar wanted him to travel to Mexico to meet with Pérez Alvear and another person “to raise money that Pérez would give to a Mexican company.” owed, which is affiliated with Del Entertainment and Del Villar”.
Scalisi also noted that he was concerned about “creating a paper trail” between Gallística Diamante and the California record label, since Pérez Alvear was “under surveillance by[the Department of]National Security.” The executive stated that he preferred that Del Villar “hide the company ‘Chucho’ (the alias of the CJNG operator) until, as you know, this mess with government and due process is resolved.”
On April 24 of this year, Del Villar’s sister and Del Entertainment’s director of touring ordered a company publicist to ask Del Villar for information about the singer’s upcoming “Individual A” concert in Aguascalientes, Mexico, promoted by Pérez Alvear.
The FBI later interviewed this publicist, who revealed that between April 24 and April 27, 2018, Del Villar and his associates continued to speak out about the Aguascalientes concert.
This singer offered to present in this state, but he did so into the early hours of April 28 because federal prosecutors said his flight was delayed.
“Video I saw, which is publicly available from multiple sources, confirms that ‘Individual A’ performed during the 2018 Aguascalientes concert,” Agent Radke said in her statement.
During the investigation, the FBI also questioned the co-founder of the private jet rental company in April 2019 GOGO JETS, who hired Del Records to transfer the artist from the airport in Van Nuys, California to one in Aguascalientes on April 27, 2018.
The label called later that day to rent a small jet, but only large ones were available. You paid with an American Express credit card on behalf of Ángel Del Villar and previously sent photos of the passports of four passengers, including the singer, describes the allegation.
The GOGOJETS co-founder told the FBI that he searched the internet for his clients and confirmed that one of the passengers was a “celebrity Del Records musician.”
The flight’s departure was delayed because Aguascalientes airport would be closed until the scheduled landing time. But a Del Records employee told the co-founder of GOGO JETS “That they knew someone in government and that there would be no problem.” Shortly thereafter, this contact would have helped them: they confirmed that the Mexican airport would continue to operate upon their arrival.
$175,000 shipments from Mexico
Two months after hiring the jet, Del Villar claimed he was overcharged. The recording of that argument eventually became part of the evidence the FBI had collected.
On June 14, 2018, in an exchange of text messages, a Del Records employee asked Del Villar for money to cover the balance of the plane rental, claiming that the music promoter “specifically said that ‘Chucho’ (Pérez Alvear) was leaving would to pay for the flight.”
But Del Villar told his clerk that “it wasn’t a bank” and wouldn’t send him the refund. He asked him to “fix this problem” because he was “the one who chose the plane.” The worker’s response was that he recommended “not acting on behalf of any person sanctioned by the United States.”
The FBI also says it has a recorded conversation between Scalisi and a Del Records employee who appears to be cooperating with the government, mentioning that Del Villar reported that Pérez Alvear had “already sent three deposits” to the bank .
Scalisi then asked him if the money was in a Mexican bank account registered under the name “Del Melodía Entertainment” and asked him to indicate “which shows” he was paying for.
Scalisi also warned the employee that said deposits should not be registered “under the name ‘Chucho'” but “under the name of the promoter”.
Investigators managed to trace at least 11 bank deposits ranging from 150,000 to 750,000 pesos (between $7,500 and $37,500) from August 16, 2018 to January 29, 2019. They were made by two people acting on behalf of Pérez Alvear. According to the Justice Department, Del Records received a total of 3.5 million pesos (US$175,000) during that period.
Meanwhile, the singer identified as “Individual A” gave concerts organized by the two people who made the bank deposits on behalf of Gallística Diamante. The events took place between September 28, 2018 and February 2019 in Mexicali, Salamanca, Chiapas and San José de Iturbide.
Del Villar and Scalisi are scheduled to be sentenced July 20 in federal court in Los Angeles. Curiously, above this court is the DEA office from which operations to arrest CJNG chief Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, aka “El Mencho,” are coordinated.
Prosecutors warn that if found guilty, both could face up to 30 years in prison.