Pikesville Jewelry Store Owner Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

July 31, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland - Eugene Petasky, age 58, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to launder drug proceeds, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to the plea agreement, Petasky owned and operated a business known as Metro Brokers Jewelers Ltd., currently located at 1852 Reisterstown Road, Suite 110, Pikesville, Maryland 21208, and formerly located on Eutaw Street in Baltimore. From at least 1982 until November 27, 2006, in the course of operating that business, Petasky knowingly accepted at least $336,000 in cash from drug traffickers in exchange for jewelry. Petasky knew that the money he was accepting was the proceeds of drug trafficking. Drug dealers repeatedly brought drug proceeds to him to disguise the true nature and source of those funds, and Petasky agreed to accept those funds and assist the drug dealers. Petasky also intentionally concealed the nature of those transactions (and the money involved) by failing to file required tax forms with the Internal Revenue Service and by structuring certain transactions to make them appear legitimate.

For example, on May 24, 2006, as part of an investigation at Metro Broker Jewelers Ltd. by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Petasky accepted $12,500 in cash from an undercover IRS agent (the UC) in exchange for jewelry and on August 24, 2006, Petasky accepted $23,500 in cash from the UC in exchange for jewelry. Petasky believed that the UC was a drug dealer from Tennessee, and believed that the money he was accepting was derived from the UC’s drug trafficking activities. Although both transactions involved over $10,000 in cash, Petasky knowingly failed to file the required IRS Form 8300 to document the transaction.

Petasky faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $672,000. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for October 19, 2009 at 1:00 p.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and Drug Enforcement Administration for their investigative work. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bryan Giblin and Robert R. Harding, who are prosecuting the case.



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