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September 21, 2012

Little Rock - U. S. Attorney Christopher R. Thyer and Christopher Henry, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation-Nashville Field Office announced that, in a hearing held before U.S. District Judge D.P. Marshall, Jr., Richard Helus, 62, of Clinton, Arkansas, pled guilty to one count of structuring cash deposits to avoid federal reporting requirements. Mr. Helus faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.00.

Richard Helus and his wife, April, 42, were indicted in December 2011, on charges of structuring and bankruptcy fraud. The indictment also alleged that they conspired with each other to knowingly and fraudulently conceal $119,520.00 in cash in their possession.

Evidence presented during the plea hearing revealed that between February 9, 2009, and April 14, 2009, Mr. Helus withdrew $72,000.00 from one of his bank accounts in a series of eight separate transactions, each one below $10,000. On September 30, 2009, the Heluses filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Between December 1, 2009 and February 11, 2010, Mr. Helus deposited $119,520.00 into his bank accounts through 21 separate transactions, each one below $10,000.

Mr. Helus admitted that he purposely structured the currency transactions with the intent to evade federal reporting requirements. As part of his plea, Mr. Helus agreed to forfeit all his interest in approximately $101,413.65 seized from his three bank accounts by the United States.

An agreement with April Helus was also reached under which she forfeited her interest in the seized funds. The Indictment currently pending against her was dismissed.

“Financial institutions who receive more than $10,000 in cash in one or more related transactions must file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) with the federal government to report this activity,” stated Henry. “Individuals who structure their transactions in an attempt to hide the existence of large amounts of currency can be prosecuted, even if the funds come from a legitimate source.”

This investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation. This case is being prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick C. Harris and Cameron C. McCree.

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Christopher R. Thyer

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