Indictment Charges Cockeysville Business Owner with Breaking up Cash Transactions of over $1.3 Million to Avoid Treasury Reporting Requirements
Federal Initiative Targets Businesses that Break Up Large
Cash Deposits to Avoid Reporting Requirement Designed to Catch Criminals
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging John B. Esnaashari, age 58, of Cockeysville, Maryland, and two businesses he owned and operated, with structuring financial transactions totaling $1.376 million in order to avoid federal reporting requirements by breaking up large cash transactions into multiple small deposits.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the IRS are leading a task force that investigates businesses that break up large cash transactions into multiple small deposits in an effort to prevent banks from complying with federal reporting requirements that are designed to catch criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Rosenstein. “Federal law requires large currency transactions to be reported in order to create a paper trail that law enforcement can follow, and businesses that break up their cash deposits to avoid currency reporting requirements face federal criminal prosecution.”
“Structuring financial transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements is a serious criminal violation of federal law under the Bank Secrecy Act," said IRS Special Agent in Charge Jeannine Hammett. “Deliberately avoiding BSA requirements is a form of money laundering that will be vigorously investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation," said IRS Special Agent in Charge Jeannine Hammett.
According to the 11 count indictment, Esnaashari owned and operated: Car City, Inc, an auto repair and taxi cab business operating at 6215 Belair Road, Baltimore; and M.G.M. Management, Inc., a real estate management business with its principal office at 10502 Willow Vista Way, Cockeysville. From at least January 2009 through October 2010, Esnaashari made, or caused to be made, approximately 205 deposits of cash totaling $1,376,315 into his business bank accounts. Esnaashari’s currency transactions ranged from $113 to $9,980, all below the $10,000 federal threshold for reporting cash transactions. Esnaashari knowingly caused such structured transactions to avoid reporting requirements. The deposits were generally made at the bank branch locations in Hunt Valley, Parksville and Padonia, Maryland.
Esnaashari and Car City, Inc are also charged with: seven counts of attempting to cause a bank to fail to file a report by making multiple deposits in amounts under $10,000 on the same day at the same bank; and three additional counts of structuring by making multiple deposits in amounts under $10,000 at different banks on the same day.
Banks and other financial institutions are required to file a report of transaction with the IRS any time a customer conducts a cash transaction involving more than $10,000 in a single day. Multiple transactions at the same or different financial institutions on the same day must be treated as a single transaction. Knowingly structuring currency transactions with the intent to evade the reporting requirement is a federal offense.
The indictment seeks forfeiture of all property involved in the offenses and any property traceable thereto.
Esnaashari face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $500,000, and his two companies face a maximum fine of $1 million, for structuring financial transactions as alleged in Count 1 of the indictment. Esnaashari faces a maximum sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine on each of the remaining 10 counts for structuring and attempting to cause a bank to fail to file a report. No court appearance is currently scheduled for Esnaashari at this time.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised IRS - Criminal Investigation for its work in this investigation and thanked Assistant United States Attorney Stefan Casella and Special Assistant United States Attorney Constantine Lizas, who are prosecuting the case.