STRATFORD MAN SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS
IN FEDERAL PRISON
FOR STRUCTURING MORE
THAN $943,000 IN CASH TRANSACTIONS
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN A. ORTIZ, 54, of Stratford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to 18 months of imprisonment, followed by two years of supervised release, for illegally structuring more than $943,000 in cash transactions. Judge Hall also ordered ORTIZ to forfeit approximately $388,540 to the government, and to pay a fine in the amount of $75,000.
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.
According to court documents and statements made in court, ORTIZ maintained a money market savings account at a credit union, and also had a personal line of credit at a bank. Between May 2006 and October 2009, ORTIZ made more than 70 large cash deposits into his savings account and more than 30 large cash payments to his personal line of credit account. The vast majority of the cash transactions were in the amount of $9000, and none exceeded $10,000. In total, ORTIZ structured approximately $943,000 in cash deposits and line of credit payments.
ORTIZ used the deposited funds to purchase, or to obtain credit in order to purchase, properties in Connecticut and Florida. ORTIZ also used more than $270,000 of the structured funds to settle a business dispute with his former partner.
ORTIZ owns and operates towing and auto repair businesses in Bridgeport and Stratford.
On May 25, 2011, ORTIZ waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of structuring cash transactions.
This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.
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