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Grand Jury Charges Kanakee Business, Owner With Structuring $6.4 Million In Cash Deposits, Money Laundering

January 6, 2010

Springfield, Ill. – A federal grand jury today returned an indictment charging LaCost Amusements, Inc., located at 1898 W. Court Street, Kankakee, Illinois, and its owner, Jimmy A. LaCost, 63, with structuring $6.4 million in cash deposits, money laundering, and illegal gambling, as announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Lang. The indictment includes Jimmy LaCost’s son, Michael W. LaCost, 40, as a co-defendant with his father in the alleged illegal gambling charge.

The indictment alleges LaCost Amusements Inc. and Jimmy LaCost structured approximately $6.4 million in cash deposits over the past four years, from January 2005 to July 2009, to evade Currency Transaction Reporting requirements. The indictment also seeks a money judgment against LaCost Amusements Inc. and LaCost equal to $6,390,972 in U.S. currency, representing the amount of the property involved in or traceable to the alleged offenses.

According to the indictment, Jimmy LaCost has had signatory authority over the business bank account of LaCost Amusements, Inc., since Dec. 6, 1999, at a Kankakee bank. The indictment alleges that on 122 occasions, from Jan. 6, 2005 to at least July 8, 2009, Jimmy LaCost deposited or caused to be deposited individual sums of U.S. currency under the threshold amount of $10,000 to avoid filing a Currency Transaction Report (CTR.) Financial institutions are required to complete and file CTRs with the Internal Revenue Service when persons deposit more than $10,000 in U.S. currency as a part of a transaction. The indictment details 54 monthly deposits beginning in January 2005 through June 2009, when cash deposits of less than $10,000 were made on at least two or three consecutive days. During this period, cash deposits totaled approximately $6,390,972. The indictment further charges the corporation and Jimmy LaCost with 54 counts of money laundering related to the bank deposits of proceeds from the alleged operation of an illegal gambling business.

The indictment charges LaCost Amusements Inc., Jimmy LaCost, and his son Michael, both of the 2700 block of River Road, Kankakee, Illinois, with conducting an illegal gambling business from January 2005 through July 8, 2009. The business allegedly provided and maintained video gambling machines and devices in violation of Illinois law.

A summons will be issued by the U.S. Clerk of the Court for the corporation, Jimmy and Michael LaCost for their respective initial appearances in federal court on a date to be determined by the Clerk.

The 109-count indictment charges LaCost Amusements Inc. and Jimmy LaCost with 54 counts of unlawful money structuring; 54 counts of money laundering; and the corporation, Jimmy, and Michael LaCost with one count of illegal gambling. If convicted, the offense of illegal gambling carries a statutory penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000; each count of unlawful money structuring carries a statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000; money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.

The charge is the result of an ongoing investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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