Man charged with money laundering after allegedly stealing and using 24 debit cards to launder tens of thousands of dollars

Staff report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jatavius Jabaré Austin, 24, was arrested yesterday and charged with money laundering over $20,000 and fraudulent possession of more than five bank cards after he was allegedly found in possession of 24 debit cards that didn’t belong to him and tens of thousands of dollars in cash.

Austin was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over on I-75 at about 9 a.m. yesterday by an Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy working as part of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office ACTION Unit.

The deputy pulled over the vehicle for a possible window tint violation and reportedly confirmed that the window tint was too dark. Austin reportedly told the deputy that he had rented the vehicle from someone on Instagram.

The deputy reported that he could smell burnt marijuana coming from the interior of the vehicle, and a probable cause search reportedly produced 25 debit cards, all with different names (one belonged to Austin); most had 4-digit PIN codes written on the card in black marker.

Nine of the cards had receipts with them showing that nine deposits had been made to various financial institutions over a span of two hours and 45 minutes on May 9, totaling $12,526. Another $31,712.49 was deposited at two financial institutions over a span of 11 minutes on May 10. The owner of the card used on May 10 told a deputy that she had requested a new card but had never received it.

Two other victims were contacted and also said they had never received debit cards they had requested.

Austin reportedly had $14,400 in cash in his pocket, all in $100 bills and wrapped with rubber bands; when asked how much cash he had, he reportedly said he did not know. More rubber bands and black markers were reportedly found in the center console.

The deputy noted that the debit activity is indicative of money laundering and charged Austin with money laundering over $20,000 and possession of five or more cards belonging to other people.

Austin’s address is listed as Valdosta, Georgia, and he reportedly said he had only been in Alachua County for a day, but two of the victims that spoke with deputies live in Gainesville.

Judge Walter Green set bail at $200,000.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

  • Why is it racism to put these robbers in jail and make them work? No, we need to give them more phone privileges.
    There is no pain given to these crafty thieves who hurt other people. This will only get worse as soft on crime continues.

  • They should have let him go right then and taken all the cash straight to GRACE. It would have saved a lot of time and trouble.

  • Do y’all think the people are giving him the cards and then when the police gets involved they turn on him? It’s always two parts to a story , wish that young man nothing but the best , learn from your mistakes

  • Surprise surprise. Must have a “cousin” in the post office. He’s lucky he got judge Green and caught here.

    • Because we know you thuggin’ punks in those vehicles are no good criminals, thanks for advertising! 😀

  • Someone at the post office is definitely involved. I hope this is looked into. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.

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