Portage Property Owner Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Currency Violation
Anchorage, Alaska – Acting United States Attorney Kevin Feldis announced today, that last week, George Scott Shelley of Anchorage, Alaska, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage on a charge of aggravated currency structuring.
The one-count indictment named Shelley, age 45, as the sole defendant.
The indictment alleges that in June 1998, Shelley purchased real estate in the Portage area in Girdwood, Alaska for $250,000, and that an escrow account was established at First National Bank of Alaska (FNBA) to handle payments from Shelley to the seller. The indictment further alleges that between April and October 2005, Shelley made 22 currency deposits totaling $197,320 and thereby structured, and assisted in structuring, transactions with FNBA, Key Bank, Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union, and Alaska Lumber and Pulp Supply Federal Credit Union, by depositing currency, and checks purchased with or representing currency, into the aforementioned FNBA escrow account in amounts less than $10,000. It is also alleged that Shelley acted knowingly and for the purpose of evading the reporting requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act relative to a conspiracy involving drug trafficking and money laundering. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of the Portage property.
In 1970, Congress enacted the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, also referred to as the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires that domestic financial institutions report to the Internal Revenue Service any cash transactions exceeding $10,000.
A person structures a transaction if that person, acting alone, or in conjunction with, or on behalf of, other persons, conducts or attempts to conduct one or more transactions in currency, in any amount, at one or more financial institutions, on one or more days, in any manner, for the purpose of evading the reporting requirements. “In any manner” includes, but is not limited to, the breaking down of a single sum of currency exceeding $10,000 into smaller sums, including sums at or below $10,000, or the conduct of a transaction, or series of currency transactions, including transactions at or below $10,000. The transaction or transactions need not exceed the $10,000 reporting threshold at any single financial institution on any single day in order to constitute structuring.
Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Bradley, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a maximum total sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The defendant is currently scheduled to appear in court in Anchorage for his initial appearance on April 14, 2010.
The Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.