Baltimore Car Dealer Owner Sentenced To 30 Months For Structuring Deposits Of Over $2 Million To Evade Bank Reporting Requirements
Businesses that Break Up Cash Transactions to Avoid Paper Trail Face Prosecution
Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Amefika Gray, age 39, of Baltimore, today to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for structuring bank deposits totaling over $2 million over a two year period to avoid bank reporting requirements. Judge Hollander also ordered that Gray forfeit $800,000, a Mercedes Benz vehicle and three residential properties located in Baltimore.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
“Federal law requires large currency transactions to be reported in order to deter money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Businesses that break up their cash deposits to avoid currency reporting requirements face federal criminal prosecution.”
According to his plea, Gray owns Network Auto Group, a car dealership operating at 2631 Gwynns Falls Parkway in Baltimore. Between January 15, 2010 and April 28, 2012, Gray made regular deposits of $10,000 or just under $10,000 into his personal and business bank accounts, including at least 25 instances in which Gray made multiple deposits under $10,000 the same day into the same bank or into different banks. The amount of the structured deposits over this two year period totaled $2,017,205.23. Gray deposited the money in such amounts because he knew that the banks were required to report to the Internal Revenue Service all deposits over $10,000.
The government presented evidence to the court that the cash that Gray structured was the proceeds of drug trafficking activity.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the IRS – Criminal Investigation and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan T. Shea, who prosecuted the case.