Feds probe former Carnegie Mellon University trustee's contribution

Debra Erdley
| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 10:20 p.m.

Former Carnegie Mellon University trustee Marco Delgado, charged in a scheme to launder more than a half-billion dollars for a Mexican drug cartel, defrauded a Mexican utility of millions and used that money to underwrite a lavish lifestyle that included a $200,000 contribution to the university, federal authorities said.

“The university is complying fully with all requests from the authorities,“ university spokesman Ken Walters wrote Wednesday in an emailed statement, though he did not disclose what requests had been made.

Anna E. Arreola, an assistant U.S. Attorney in El Paso, outlined the latest allegations against Delgado, 46, in a petition filed in federal court to seize his El Paso home, hundreds of thousands of dollars in furnishings and the contents of an offshore bank account in the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

The petition alleges those assets are proceeds of the complex scheme to defraud the Mexican state-owned utility.

It states that Delgado tapped the offshore account to wire $200,000 to Carnegie Mellon in July 2010 — the first time federal investigators publicly tied the contribution to his accused criminal activities.

“We do not want to get ahead of the judicial process and must reserve comment while the appropriate authorities investigate,” Walters said.

Delgado, a Texas lawyer and businessman who received a master's degree from Carnegie Mellon's Heinz School in 1990, maintains his innocence. His lawyer, Ray Velarde, did not return calls for comment.

Delgado served on the Carnegie Mellon board of trustees until last year. He provided $250,000 in 2003 for a scholarship fund in his name at the Heinz School. That gift is not listed in the petition filed in December seeking seizure of Delgado's assets.

The lawyer, who portrayed himself as a high-flying businessman with ties to the energy industry, was arrested Nov. 2 at an El Paso restaurant and charged in a scheme to launder more than $600 million for a Mexican drug cartel in 2007 and 2008.

A federal judge on Jan. 16 ordered Delgado to be held without bail pending trial, saying his access to money in international bank accounts and frequent global travel made him a high risk for flight.

When he was arrested, Delgado was enrolled in an international master's degree program in asset and wealth management at Carnegie Mellon. The 20-month program had 16 international and six U.S. students taking classes in Pittsburgh and at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

According to federal authorities, Delgado helped a Nevada company, FGG Enterprises LLC, secure a $121 million contract with a Mexican utility in 2009 to provide turbo generators for a power plant in Mexico City.

Authorities claim he used a bogus power of attorney to have the utility route $32 million intended for FGG to his personal offshore account.

The forfeiture petition seeks title to a home Delgado purchased for $375,000 and renovated for $250,000. It seeks to seize $218,000 in furnishings.

Debra Erdley is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. She canbe reached at 412-320-7996or derdley@tribweb.com.

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