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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Louisiana

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Ponchatoula Home Elevation Company And Owner, Christopher Benson, Sentenced For Structuring Financial Transactions

LOUISIANA HOME ELEVATIONS, L.L.C., a Ponchatoula-based home elevation and shoring company, and its owner, CHRISTOPHER BENSON, age 32, a resident of Ponchatoula, was sentenced today in federal court by U. S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier, announced U.S. Attorney Dana Boente.  BENSON was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment.  In addition to the term of imprisonment, Judge Barbier ordered that BENSON be placed on one year of supervised release following the term of imprisonment, during which time the defendant will be under federal supervision and risks an additional term of imprisonment should he violate any terms of supervised release.  LOUISIANA HOME ELEVATIONS was sentenced to five years probation.

According to court documents, on December 20, 2012, LOUISIANA HOME ELEVATIONS and BENSON pled guilty to their roles in a scheme that occurred in March 2010 whereby they issued two checks each in amounts below $10,000, but together totaling in excess of $10,000, from the company’s bank account to an individual named Adolfo Hernandez, who then cashed the checks on separate days at a Central Progressive Bank branch.  LOUISIANA HOME ELEVATIONS and BENSON assisted Hernandez to engage in these structured currency transactions knowing of the bank’s obligation to report transactions in excess of $10,000, and the defendants intended to avoid those reporting requirements.  Hernandez pled guilty in May 2012 to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, a scheme wherein he used the funds paid to him by LOUISIANA HOME ELEVATIONS and BENSON to pay illegal aliens who worked at LOUISIANA HOME ELEVATIONS worksites.  

The case was investigated by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - Homeland Security Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) - Criminal Investigation Division. The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U. S. Attorney Robert Weir and Assistant U. S. Attorney Michael McMahon.

Updated November 18, 2014