News

Baltimore Drug Dealer Sentenced In Money Laundering Scheme

Paid a Bank Teller to Convert Drug Proceeds from Small Bills to $100 Bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2014

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Deanna Bailey, age 33, of Baltimore, today to 46 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for conspiring to commit money laundering. Judge Bredar also ordered Bailey to forfeit $500,000.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore District Office; and Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department.

According to her plea agreement, Bailey was a member of a drug trafficking organization based in Maryland. Bailey transported or caused to be transported at least 500 pounds of marijuana from southwestern United States to Maryland for distribution. Sabrina Fitts was the head teller at the Perry Hall branch of M&T Bank. On at least eight occasions over a period of two to three years, Bailey came to the bank and asked Fitts to convert the proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs from small denomination bills (i.e. $5, $10 and $20 bills) to $100 bills. The amounts involved in each transaction ranged from $20,000 to $100,000, with most transactions involving $50,000 or more. Bailey paid Fitts a one percent fee for each transaction.

On May 2, 2013, a search warrant was executed at an apartment in Baltimore where Bailey sometimes stayed. Law enforcement seized a handgun, digital scales, 10 cell phones and $319,000 in $100 bills.

Sabrina Nicole Fitts, age 29, of Baltimore, Maryland, was sentenced on December 20, 2013 to a month in prison followed by eight months of home detention for failing to file currency transaction reports on suspected drug proceeds. Judge Bredar also ordered Fitts to perform 250 hours of community service and to forfeit $5,000 she was paid by Bailey for converting the drug proceeds.

The government filed a civil action on February 10, 2014 alleging that M&T Bank is required to forfeit $560,000 that was transferred to the bank by Bailey in exchange for $100 bills. The complaint alleges that the money is subject to forfeiture because M&T Bank failed to file currency transactions reports on bank transactions in amounts in excess of $10,000 as required by law.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the DEA and Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stefan D. Cassella, who prosecuted the case.

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