BOSTON - A South Dartmouth man was convicted by a federal jury today of structuring cash transactions in connection with an effort to conceal the proceeds of a real estate transaction involving an elderly widower.
After a trial before United States District Judge Richard G. Stearns, Richard Souza, 46, was convicted of structuring cash transactions to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements. The money used in the crime originally came from the retirement savings of an elderly widower whom Souza befriended. Souza persuaded the man to use approximately a quarter of his retirement savings to purchase a property in Maine, as well as to take out a loan of over $85,000 by using the property as collateral. Souza took the loan proceeds for himself and removed the majority of the proceeds from his account in structured cash transactions designed to avoid reporting rules that require banks to report cash transactions of over $10,000. In 2006, 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 during a two hour period.
Judge Stearns set Souza’s sentencing for May 23, 2012. Souza faces up to five years in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vassili Thomadakis and Ryan M. DiSantis of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.