Raymond Ho was a highly successful lawyer – a partner at Arent Fox at the age of 33 before opening a successful IP law firm.
But no more.
His career ended when he pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Prosecutors said that he was a “prolific money launderer” who funneled $2.1 million through various accounts, including attorney trust accounts.
According to the sentencing memorandum filed by the government in the case —
“Raymond Juiwen Ho seemingly had it all,” the sentencing memo said. “After emigrating from Taiwan at a young age, he excelled in U.S. schools, earned two legal degrees, practiced law at some of the largest law firms in the country, and even opened his own patent law firm.
“The defendant, however, was not the upstart attorney his résumé would suggest. Rather, from at least March 2013 to February 2017, the defendant engaged in a large-scale money laundering scheme.”
As reported by ABA Journal, Ho’s attorneys revealed his troubles began before he embarked on the money laundering scheme. After his annual compensation took a hit, he began looking for a side hustle.
His attempts at making additional money included: raising eels for export, tuna fishing, brokering the sale of distressed banks, selling train rails for scrap metal, recycling copper, and brokering the sale of a Chinese restaurant in Maryland.
Unfortunately, none of these were successful, and his lawyers say he tried serving as a paymaster when he got caught in the fraudulent scheme:
The only venture that was successful was serving as paymaster by holding funds as a disinterested party. In 2013, he was introduced to a person known as “Chief Onwa,” though Ho never met him in person. Chief Onwa asked Ho to cash two checks. Ho deposited the checks and wired the money to Onwa before finding out they were fraudulent.
In a bid to recover the money, Ho “foolishly agreed to facilitate additional transactions” for Chief Onwa, the court document said. “Before long,” Ho’s lawyers wrote. “Ho became involved in a set of fraudulent schemes that was larger than he could have ever anticipated.”
The FBI first questioned Ho in 2014 and 2015 as part of a separate investigation when he claimed he was himself a victim of a fraud scheme.
Then, in late 2015, an undercover Homeland Security Investigations agent was introduced to Ho through another scammer who said he had learned everything he knew from the patent attorney. Ho and the agent, posing as a trafficker, met in a Northern Virginia parking lot that December.
His criminal activity however ended last Friday.
Last week Judge Leonie M. Brinkema sentenced Ho to seven years in prison. She said that the lengthy term was appropriate for “somebody with your level of education and understanding of the law.”