Local tobacco store owner pleads guilty to illegal financial transactions

An owner of a Rockholds, Ky. tobacco business admitted in federal court today that her company illegally conducted financial transactions to avoid reporting them to the federal government.

Dennise Crawford, 44, pleaded guilty in London, Ky. before U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to one count of willfully causing a financial institution to fail to comply with record keeping and reporting regulations.

Her business, The Mohican Discount Tobacco Shop, pleaded guilty to one count of structuring.

Individuals who structure their transactions in an attempt to hide the existence of large amounts of currency can be prosecuted, even if the funds come from a legitimate source according to the IRS.

Currency Transaction Reports

Currency Transaction Reports

Crawford’s plea agreement states that from July 28, 2009 until January 14, 2010 that she and others knowingly made numerous cash deposits under $10,000 into Mohican’s bank account to avoid filling out the currency transaction report. All of the deposits totaled $651,107.14; The IRS has seized this money from the company’s bank account in Corbin, Ky.

At the plea hearing, Crawford admitted that she knew the Hometown Bank of

Corbin had an obligation to maintain records and issue for Currency Transaction Reports deposits of $10,000 or more, and that her actions caused the bank to fail to maintain such accurate records.

Sentencing in the case is set for August 4, 2011 in U.S. District Court in London. Crawford faces a maximum of one year in prison and the company could be issued a fine of up to $500,000.

This investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The United States was represented in the case by Assistant United States Attorney Robert K. McBride.

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