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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2011 Press Release Index
    Release No. 11-042

    March 22, 2011

    MONTEBELLO ATTORNEY PLEADS GUILTY TO ‘STRUCTURING’ CASH TRANSACTIONS IN BID TO AVOID PAYING INCOME TAXES

    LOS ANGELES – A Montebello attorney pleaded guilty today to federal charges related to a scheme to “structure” cash transactions at banks to avoid having the deposits reported to federal authorities and avoid the payment of federal income taxes.

    Anthony Luna, 71, pleaded guilty late this afternoon to one count of conspiracy to structure cash transactions and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.

    According to court documents, over the course of less than two years, Luna funneled more than $300,000 in cash through seven different bank accounts. Luna received the money in cash as payment for his legal services and rental payments on properties he owned. Luna and his co-conspirators – his daughter and his brother – deposited the money in transactions of less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements. Luna also stashed cash in several safe deposit boxes until it could be inconspicuously deposited in the accounts.

    According to the criminal information filed in this case, Luna and his daughter attempted to make multiple $7,000 cash deposits into accounts at the South Pasadena branch of U.S. Bank, but Luna cancelled the transactions when the bank teller requested information to fill out a form to satisfy the bank’s reporting requirements. Luna stated to the teller words to the effect of, “Oh, I don't want to deal with that – Uncle Sam always tries to take my money.”

    In addition to the conspiracy to structure cash transactions, Luna pleaded guilty to subscribing to a false tax return for 2008. Luna admitted that he reported gross receipts or sales of $104,225, when in fact Luna received $301,279 in gross receipts and sales during the year 2008.  Luna’s actions resulted in him understating his federal income tax liability for 2008 by $66,529.

    As part of his plea agreement, Luna agreed to forfeit about a quarter million dollars seized by authorities last year, including $130,000 in a U.S. Bank account and $54,708 in cash that was found at his Montebello residence. Luna also agreed to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service in the determination of his tax liability for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

    Luna pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on August 8. At the time of sentencing, Luna faces a statutory maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison.

    Luna’s daughter also pleaded guilty today. Dianne Sanchez, also known as Dianne Luna Mejia, 42, of Alhambra, pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to structure cash transactions. Sanchez faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced on July 1.

    Luna’s brother, Fred Luna, 70, of Camarillo, pleaded guilty on February 2 to one count of structuring financial transactions. Fred Luna faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Fairbank on May 2.

    The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS - Criminal Investigation.

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    Release No. 11-042
    Return to the 2011 Press Release Index