Three Family Members Plead Guilty to Money Laundering
Father, Mother & Daughter Laundered $2.9M Obtained Through Fraudulent Life-Insurance Policy
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Three members of a family from Mason, Ohio, have pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder nearly $3 million in proceeds from two fraudulently purchased life-insurance policies, which were taken out on another relative.
Patricia Stevenson, 57, and her daughter Candace G. Stevenson, 30, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here today to one count of money laundering conspiracy. Mitch G. Stevenson, 53, pleaded guilty on June 28.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, announced the pleas entered before Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr.
According to court documents, in 2009, Mitch Stevenson bought life insurance policies on a relative. The life-insurance applications claimed the relative was healthy, weighed 170 pounds and had an annual income of $133,000. In fact, the relative was ill, weighed nearly 400 pounds and was unemployed. Mr. Stevenson knew the applications were fraudulent at the time they were submitted. When the relative died, Candace and Patricia Stevenson, who were the beneficiaries of the policies, collected checks from the insurance company totaling $2,908,326.90. At Mitch Stevenson’s direction, Candace and Patricia Stevenson opened eight different bank accounts in an attempt to conceal the source of the funds.
“The defendants engaged in a complex sequence of transactions designed to conceal and disguise the ownership of the proceeds of the life-insurance fraud,” Glassman said.
Court documents also say the family members used the proceeds to buy a 2012 Bentley GT Convertible for approximately $247,000 and used approximately $284,000 as a down payment on a land contract on a home in Mason, Ohio. Other transactions included approximately $16,000 to World of Decor and nearly $33,000 to Facet Jewelry.
“The conduct detailed in this case is egregious. They went to great lengths to conceal the proceeds they received from the fraudulent life insurance policies,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.”
A federal grand jury indicted the three in June 2017. Money laundering conspiracy is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Judge Sargus will schedule a date for sentencing.
As part of the plea, the defendants have agreed to pay the $2.9 million to the victim life insurance company. They have also agreed to forfeit to the United States the home in Mason, Ohio, that was purchased with the proceeds of the fraud.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the IRS Criminal Investigation, and Assistant United States Attorney Peter K. Glenn-Applegate, who is prosecuting the case.
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