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Financial Crimes
03/14/2008

Ellensburg man indicted for structuring deposits

Forfeiture of $4 million sought

YAKIMA, Wash. - A federal grand jury has indicted a Kittitas County man on 203 counts of structuring financial transactions and one count of forfeiture, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE.)

Gurmit Singh Kaila, 52, of Ellensburg, Wash., is charged with evading financial reporting requirements over a four-and-a-half year period beginning in March 2003. Until recently, Kaila was the owner of the “Big B” Mini Mart on Canyon Road in Ellensburg.

The indictment alleges that Kaila made more than 203 deposits of amounts less than $10,000 into multiple accounts at Yakima Federal Savings and Loan Association and Cashmere Valley Bank. The deposits totaled more than $4 million and the accounts were held in the names of Kaila or "Big B" Mini Mart. The indictment seeks the forfeiture of the entire amount of money in the case.

"Compliance with financial reporting laws is crucial to ensuring the integrity of our nation's financial system," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Seattle.

"ICE remains committed to investigating financial crimes, including structuring, in an effort to deter others from benefitting financially from this type of illegal activity."

Structuring is a federal crime under the Bank Secrecy Act. It occurs when an individual splits a cash deposit or withdrawal of more than $10,000 into smaller transactions to circumvent financial reporting requirements.

ICE received assistance from the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Ellensburg Police Department, the Yakima Police Department and Central Washington University's Police Department in this investigation.