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Office of the
Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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June 07, 2024

ChicagoAttorney General Kwame Raoul today announced a suburban Cook County man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison for laundering millions of dollars.

Michael A. Venegas, 24, of Hanover Park, Illinois, pleaded guilty today to one count of money laundering, a Class 1 felony. Kane County Circuit Court Judge D.J. Tegeler sentenced Venegas to six years in prison.

“Money laundering fuels illicit drug sales and makes our neighborhoods less safe by attempting to hide ongoing criminal activity,” Raoul said. “I will continue to partner with the Illinois State Police and local law enforcement agencies to hold perpetrators accountable and reduce crime across Illinois.”  

Raoul’s office charged Venegas and co-defendant Hugh Collins in 2022 after an investigation by the Illinois State Police’s North Central Narcotics Task Force uncovered Venegas selling cannabis and other controlled substances via Snapchat throughout the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

In April 2021, investigators executed a search warrant at Venegas’ home in the 1600 block of Dogwood Lane in Hanover Park and found evidence of drug dealing and extensive money laundering. The investigation uncovered multiple large cash deposits into a bank account, a stock account with a balance of more than $1.6 million and evidence of “chip walking.” Chip walking involved the defendant taking large amounts of cash to a casino only to cash out casino chips after playing just a short amount of time.

“ISP enforcement groups and multi-jurisdictional drug task forces are critical to identifying and stopping criminal behavior, including money laundering and drug trafficking,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly. “ISP is focused combatting trafficking - drug, gun, and human trafficking - and will work to put an end to the havoc these criminals wreak on our communities.”

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Whitfield prosecuted the case for Raoul’s Statewide Grand Jury Bureau.