FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
DEFENDANT SENTENCED FOR CURRENCY REPORTING VIOLATIONS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Justice Department today announced the sentencing of a Renton, Washington woman on charges of violating federal currency transaction reporting laws. Chief Judge John C. Coughenour of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington sentenced Laura Jean Marie Struckman to twenty-one months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiring to structure nearly $1 million of income earned from the Institute of Global Prosperity.
A federal jury convicted Struckman, the estranged wife of a co-founder of the Institute of Global Prosperity in May 2003. Trial evidence showed that the defendant and an unindicted co-conspirator engaged in a conspiracy from June 1997 to August 1998 to evade currency reporting requirements. The defendants made cash withdrawals of over $960,000 in 122 separate transactions, none of which exceeded $10,000. The evidence further established that Struckman was the co-signer on three nominee bank accounts - opened at the U.S. Bank of Washington - into which she and another individual deposited over $3.7 million during the time period of the conspiracy. These monies were earned from the Institute of Global Prosperity.
“People who engage in financial transactions designed to evade IRS reporting requirements will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” said Eileen J. O’Connor, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
The Institute of Global Prosperity was an organization that encouraged its members to sell various products for profit - such as “foreign trusts,” “pure trusts,” as well as other reliance packages - that although touted as legal means to avoid taxes, were nothing more than tax evasion devices. The organization discontinued its operations in May 2002.
Struckman is the fourth individual affiliated with the Institute of Global Prosperity to be sentenced for federal criminal violations. Earlier this year Margo E. Jordan of Wilton, Maine, and Jeffrey and Shoshanna Szuch of Charleston, South Carolina were convicted of tax evasion. Twelve other individuals are currently under indictment for various tax offenses related to the organization’s activities.
“This indictment, conviction, and sentencing shows the seriousness of abusing the banking system and trying to conceal large cash transactions from the Internal Revenue Service,” said Steven J. Pasholk, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division’s Seattle field office. “For serial evaders of the cash reporting requirements, it is only a matter of time before they are caught.”
Agents of Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division investigated this matter. Trial attorneys Mark T. Odulio and Christopher J. Maietta of the Justice Department’s Tax Division prosecuted this case.