News

Former Employee of Fundraising Business That Defrauded FOPs Pleads Guilty to Structuring Cash Transactions to Avoid Bank Reporting Requirements

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 4, 2010

Baltimore, Maryland - William Madonna, age 58, of Perry Hall, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to structuring $142,000 in currency transactions to avoid bank reporting requirements.

The plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to Madonna’s plea agreement and court documents, from 2003 to 2005 Madonna was employed at Amera-Funding, a business formed to raise money for Fraternal Orders of Police (FOPs) in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area. Nicholas Baccala and Gary W. Toroni owned and operated Amera-Funding. During an investigation of a scheme to defraud FOPs by Amera-Funding, investigators analyzed several bank accounts.

One of those accounts was a personal checking account in Toroni’s name (“Toroni Account”) in which there were numerous suspicious deposits and withdrawals. The source of some of the money was from the Amera-Funding scheme to defraud the FOPs. A separate source of the money came from “WR,” a former business associate of Madonna, who made a loan to Madonna through Toroni. Between October 8, 2003, and November 2004, Madonna caused WR to withdraw cash from WR’s personal bank account in varying amounts under $10,000, and purchase cashier’s checks in those amounts, to avoid triggering the bank’s reporting requirements of transactions involving $10,000 or more. The cashier’s checks were then deposited into the Toroni Account. Checks for Madonna’s benefit were then drawn from the Toroni Account, in varying amounts under $10,000, and converted to cash. During this time, Madonna caused the deposit and withdrawals of approximately $142,000.

Further, during the investigation into Amera-Funding, the FBI interviewed Madonna several times. Madonna made several false statements and material omissions in those interviews, including regarding his knowledge of Toroni’s participation in the scheme to defraud the FOPs.

Investigators also learned that Madonna failed to timely file his personal income tax return for the tax year 2003 despite having earned a salary from Amera-Funding. After investigators learned of the omission, Madonna filed a tax return in which he reported income of $35,075 and taxes owing to the IRS of $8,837.

Madonna faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison followed by a year of supervised release. U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis scheduled sentencing for September 2, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

Both Baccala and Toroni were convicted of the scheme to defraud FOPs of over $2 million of charitable contributions. Nicholas Baccala, age 51, formerly of Towson, Maryland, was ultimately sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in the scheme, which diverted over $2 million of charitable contributions intended for Fraternal Orders of Police (FOPs). Gary W. Toroni, age 56, of Baltimore, was convicted after trial and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 18, 2010 at 9:30 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Paul E. Budlow and Sandra Wilkinson, who prosecuted the case.

 

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