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Financial Crimes
11/13/2009

North Florida car dealer found guilty of 103 counts of structuring deposits

ORLANDO, Fla. - A Volusia County car dealer was found guilty by a federal jury Friday in U.S. District Court in Orlando for evading reporting requirements following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation.

Lucio Ramirez, 45, of Deland, was found guilty after a four-day jury trial in the Middle District of Florida of structuring cash deposits into his company's bank account in amounts less than $10,000.

Ramirez, owner of Colima Auto Sales, a used car dealership in Deland, structured 103 deposits in amounts between $9,000 and $9,900 to avoid the currency transaction reporting requirements.

In 2007, ICE agents in Cocoa Beach obtained information on the alleged criminal activity of Lucio Ramirez and initiated an investigation. The investigation revealed that Ramirez, through Colima Auto Sales, structured more than $900,000 into the business bank account.

As a result of this investigation, ICE agents have seized $282,829 due to his structuring activity. Additional funds are subject to forfeiture to the U.S. government as a result of this conviction.

Ramirez faces a maximum penalty of 515 years in federal prison.

Banks are required to file Currency Transaction Reports with the government, disclosing all deposits, withdrawals, transfers or payments involving more than $10,000 in cash or currency. Currency Transaction Reports are an important tool utilized by law enforcement to investigate money laundering and financial crimes.