United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California
Sacramento Men Plead Guilty To Structuring Interstate Marijuana Shipment Proceeds
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Docket #: 2:12-CR-0124 MCE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Keni Renta, 29, and Jauwon Pierre Wilder, 28, both of Sacramento, pleaded guilty today to structuring cash transactions from selling marijuana in order to avoid reporting requirements, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, in 2011, Renta was in the business of interstate sale of marijuana, obtaining the majority of his supply from California growers. He took orders from out-of-state individuals, primarily in the Midwest and Northeast. These buyers paid him by depositing cash in bank branches in other states for accounts in Renta’s name or that he controlled. Renta directed his buyers to split their deposits into amounts less than $10,000 in an in an attempt to avoid the banks’ mandatory requirement of filing a currency transaction report (a practice known as structuring). Renta and others under his direction would then withdraw the deposited cash, in amounts of less than $10,000. From June 2011 through November 2011, at least $1.3 million was deposited in accounts, and at least $942,500 of that was structured.
Wilder lived with Renta and assisted in his business. At Renta’s direction, Wilder opened bank accounts in his own name to facilitate a larger volume of cash deposits from the out-of-state marijuana buyers. Wilder withdrew cash in amounts under $10,000 and provided the cash to Renta. In October and November 2011 at least $182,750 was structured into Wilder’s account.
This case is the product of an investigation by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, U.S. Postal Inspections, and the IRS Financial Crimes Task Force, including agents from the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB), the Sacramento Police Department, and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. FTB agents led the investigation team. Assistant United States Attorneys Jean M. Hobler and Paul Hemesath are prosecuting the case.
Renta and Wilder are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. on September 13, 2012. Renta and Wilder have agreed to forfeit structured funds as part of their sentence. The maximum statutory penalty for structuring is 10 years in prison, a $500,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. In a related case, Charles Wilson is scheduled to plead guilty to manufacturing marijuana on June 14, 2012. The charges are only allegations, and he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.