BOSTON - A South Dartmouth man was sentenced today to 51 months in prison after being convicted of structuring cash transactions in connection with an effort to conceal the proceeds of a real estate transaction involving an elderly widower.
Richard C. Souza, JR., 47, was sentenced today by the Honorable Richard G. Stearns in United States District Court to 51 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Souza was previously convicted of structuring cash transactions to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements after a jury trial. The money that was the subject of the structuring charge had originally come from the retirement savings of an elderly widower whom Souza had befriended. Souza persuaded the widower, whose mental health was declining, to use approximately a quarter of his retirement savings to purchase a property in Maine, and then to take out a loan of over $85,000 using the property as collateral. Souza then took the loan proceeds for himself, and removed the majority of the proceeds from his account in structured cash transactions designed to avoid currency reporting rules that require banks to report cash transactions of over $10,000 to the United States Treasury. On June 15, 2006, in the course of less than two hours, Souza withdrew the majority of the proceeds of the Maine property loan in six separate cash withdrawals of $9,000 each from five different Sovereign Bank branches in the New Bedford area, all in an effort to conceal his possession of the loan proceeds.
At the sentencing hearing, the government also presented evidence that in a span of four years, from 2004 to 2008, Souza caused the widower’s net worth to decline from over $750,000 to virtually nothing, while also causing the widower to incur liabilities of over $140,000 during the same period. The evidence also showed that Souza pawned the widower’s watch and other valuables after the widower had been placed into an assisted living facility.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vassili Thomadakis and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.