HOUSTON, Texas – A professor of finance at the University of Houston’s Victoria Campus pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally transferring money from synthetic marijuana sales out of the country.
The professor of finance, Omar Maher Al Nasser, 37, was indicted in April along with 15 others in an alleged conspiracy to import synthetic marijuana, distribute the contraband, and transfer the proceeds of the sales out of the country, according to records obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Southern District of Texas federal court. Specifically, Al Nasser was charged with Conspiracy to commit Money Laundering.
The 33-page indictment charges that Al Nasser, and two others, conspired to:
Transport, transmit, and transfer, and attempt to transport, transmit, and transfer monetary instruments and funds involving the proceeds of specified unlawful activity, to-wit: unlawful operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business and the distribution of controlled substances, from a place inside the United States to or through a place outside the United States…
He was also charged with an additional county of Aiding and Abetting an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business.
During his pleading, Al Nassar admitted to the charge of Aiding and Abetting an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business and said he his responsibility in wiring more than $200,000 from bank accounts inside the United States to accounts in Jordan, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas reported in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.
“The investigation revealed Al Nasser was as an associate of one of the primary distributors of synthetic cannabinoids in the Southern District of Texas,” the U.S. Attorney’s statement revealed. “As part of his plea today, Al Nasser admitted he was paid to wire more than $200,000 in U.S. currency from a bank in the United States to accounts in the country of Jordan.”
The investigation into the ring involved in distributing the synthetic cannabinoid included law enforcement officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Houston Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. They were assited by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Conroe Police Department, sheriff’s offices in Harris and Polk counties, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
One of Al Nassar’s attorney’s, Todd Ward, said his client was not aware of the alleged synthetic cannabinoid conspiracy. The charge related to his involvement in that conspiracy is still pending, a Houston newspaper reported. The professor has been on leave without pay from the UH-Victoria campus since September 1.
Court records obtained by Breitbart Texas show that Al Nassar was denied bond in May because, “There is a serious risk that the defendant will flee.” The court order continued, “I find that there is no condition or combination of conditions … which will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required.” Al Nassar became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2011.
Al Nassar is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on February 16, 2017, the DOJ stated. On this count, he faces up to five years in a federal prison and a fine of not more than $250,000.