States Attorney's Office District of Connecticut
|September 17, 2010||
SHELTON DEVELOPER SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR CORRUPTION, CURRENCY STRUCTURING OFFENSES
The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut announced that JAMES BOTTI, 47, of Shelton, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Charles S. Haight in New Haven to 72 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for public corruption and currency structuring offenses. Judge Haight also ordered BOTTI to pay a fine in the amount of $25,000.
On April 1, 2010, a federal jury found BOTTI guilty of one count of mail fraud. According to the evidence presented during the trial, BOTTI used the U.S. Mail to execute a scheme to defraud the citizens of Shelton of the honest services of its public officials relating to a project that BOTTI was developing at 828 Bridgeport Avenue in Shelton. The project was approved by the Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission on June 20, 2006. On June 28, 2006, the Shelton Planning and Commission mailed a letter of approval to BOTTI’s attorney, which notified BOTTI that the Commission had approved the 828 Bridgeport Avenue project.
The jury was deadlocked on two additional counts in the indictment on which BOTTI was tried, conspiracy to defraud and bribery of a public official. The Court declared a mistrial relating to those counts.
On November 10, 2009, another federal jury found BOTTI guilty of one count of conspiracy to structure cash transactions and one count of structuring cash transactions. The jury found BOTTI not guilty of two counts of making false statements to the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, BOTTI conspired with his father, Peter C. Botti, to structure cash deposits in order to hide the existence of a large amount of BOTTI’s cash from the IRS and federal law enforcement authorities.
Federal law requires all financial institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for currency transactions that exceed $10,000. To evade the filing of a CTR, individuals will often structure their currency transactions so that no single transaction exceeds $10,000. Structuring involves the repeated depositing or withdrawal of amounts of cash less than the $10,000 limit, or the splitting of a cash transaction that exceeds $10,000 into smaller cash transactions in an effort to avoid the reporting requirements. Even if the deposited funds are derived from a legitimate means, financial transactions conducted in this manner are still in violation of federal criminal law.
From approximately June 2006 through January 2007, JAMES BOTTI, or Peter Botti at JAMES BOTTI’s direction, made numerous deposits of cash in amounts less than $10,001 at various financial institutions in order to evade the requirement that financial institutions file CTRs. The cash was deposited into bank accounts in the name of either JAMES BOTTI or Peter Botti. The cash that was deposited into Peter Botti’s accounts was distributed by check for the benefit of JAMES BOTTI, to an account controlled by BOTTI, or to a person associated with JAMES BOTTI. In addition, JAMES BOTTI structured large cash payments to a credit card company.
As a result of his conviction of these currency structuring offenses, BOTTI was ordered to forfeit $120,500 to the government.
Today, Judge Haight ordered BOTTI to serve 72 months of imprisonment on the mail fraud conviction, and concurrent 60-month terms of imprisonment on each of the two structuring convictions.
On June 1, 2009, Peter C. Botti pleaded guilty to one count of structuring cash transactions. He awaits sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter and Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Kale.
U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
Department of Justice
Project Safe Neighborhoods