News and Press Releases

Two Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Launder Funds

January 30 , 2013

Contact Person: DeWayne Pearson (803) 929-3000

Columbia, South Carolina ---- Bill Nettles, United States Attorney for the District of South Carolina announced today that William Helton, age 42, of Commack, New Jersey, and Nathaniel Elmore, age 49 of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder funds in connection with an illegal cigarette trafficking ring. Charlie Davis, age 42 of Bishopville, entered a guilty plea to failure to keep tobacco records.

As part of the plea, Elmore and Helton admitted that between June 2008 and November, 2009, they participated in a scheme to purchase approximately 3.3 million dollars worth of cigarettes in South Carolina to illegally transport and sell in New York City in an effort to evade applicable state and local cigarette taxes, resulting in an estimated $700,000 profit to the defendants. The men also admitted to depositing the illegal funds into the bank account of a front company in an effort to make the transactions appear legitimate. Helton has been sentenced to twenty-four (24) months incarceration. Sentencing has not yet been set for Elmore and Davis.

“The.culmination of this investigation illustrates the strong working relationships that exist between law enforcement and judicial counterparts across the country,” said IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett. “As evidenced by this case, the Internal Revenue Service continues to focus our resources to protect our nation’s financial infrastructure.”

The case was investigated by agents of the Internal Revenue Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney T. DeWayne Pearson of the Columbia office.


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