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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Kansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 21, 2014

Law School Graduate Pleads GuiltyTo Conspiring To Launder Drug Money

KANSAS CITY, KAN. - A law school graduate who operated a non-profit business pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to launder drug money, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Mendy Read-Forbes, 39, Platte City, Mo., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. In her plea, she admitted that in March 2012 she began meeting with an agent posing as a drug dealer. Read-Forbes, a law school graduate who was not licensed to practice law, operated Forbes & Newhard Credit Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit corporation registered in Missouri to provide educational and social welfare services.

The agent told Read-Forbes he had assets to conceal from the sale of marijuana. She boasted she could use her legal training and her connections with federal attorneys and law enforcement officers to help him launder the money. She told the agent she would launder his cash by running it through her business. She said a lot of her customers paid in cash. So it would not be suspicious for her to be doing transactions involving cash. The plan also involved her listing the agent as an employee of her business and putting him on her company’s board of directors. As part of the scheme, she created a fictitious company called Maximus Lawn Care LLC.
Over the course of the investigation she laundered a total of more than $200,000 in purported drug funds. She also agreed to invest $40,000 of her money with the agent for the purchase of marijuana.

Sentencing is set for July 22. Both sides have agreed to recommend a sentence of no less than seven years and no more than 15 years.

Co-defendants are:
Ronald E. Partee, 67, Kansas City, Mo., who was sentenced to five years.
Laura Shoop, 47, Platte City, Mo., who is awaiting sentencing.

Grissom commended the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jabari Wamble for their work on the case.
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Updated December 15, 2014