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Bank Called a Gang Conspirator

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Victims of L.A. street gangs sued HSBC Bank in a federal RICO class action, claiming the bank is partly responsible because it accepts and launders money for the gangsters, who are associated with the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Four named plaintiffs sued the bank on Feb. 25, claiming that the bank "conspired to wrongfully take plaintiffs' property, including money, hide its source through money laundering and use the money to fund the Sinaloa drug cartel."

They claim that HSBC acknowledged its money laundering in a 2012 deferred-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Prosecutors identified more than 3,000 HSBC accounts used to launder money for the Sinaloa cartel, the plaintiffs say, citing a July 17, 2012 hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Plaintiff Stephanie Scoggins claims a Crip robbed her of $180 in 2003, and that HSBC received the money and laundered it for the cartel.

Plaintiff Jordan Saddler claims a Crip robbed him of $240 and an iPhone in 2005, and that HSBC laundered the money for the cartel. In 2012, Saddler says, another Crip relieved him of $130 and HSBC then laundered it.

Plaintiff Otis Hawkins claims that a Blood robbed him of $1,500 in 2009 and HSBC laundered it.

They seek class certification, treble damages and punitive damages for RICO violations.

They are represented by Dermot Givens, of Beverly Hills.

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