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Financial Crimes

Washington state man sentenced for illegal currency transactions

SEATTLE - A Pierce County mortgage broker who illegally structured more than $600,000 in bank deposits to avoid federal financial reporting requirements was sentenced today to six months of home detention, three years of probation and a $5,000 fine, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE).

Scott Haymond, 43, of Bonney Lake, Wash., made 28 deposits into multiple branches of six different banks totaling $268,800 in September 2005. Fourteen months later, he made 19 deposits into 13 bank branches totaling $185,000. All the deposits were for amounts ranging from $9,000 to $9,900.

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.

"Structuring cash deposits is often an attempt to hide illegal income or proceeds from illicit activity," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's office of investigation in Seattle. "ICE will continue to investigate this type of crime in order to ensure compliance with reporting laws and ensure the integrity of our nation's financial system."

During the course of the investigation, ICE agents were unable to determine the source of the bulk of the cash although they discovered ties to individuals previously involved in drug and currency smuggling, as well as questionable real estate dealings. At sentencing, the federal judge noted Haymond had engaged in a "theme of concealment, not telling the whole truth," adding "there is so much stuff smelling here, there has to be a fire."

As part of his April 2008 plea agreement, Haymond admitted that he structured the deposits so there would be no currency transaction reports. He was ordered to forfeit $268,800 - the total amount of his September 2005 deposits - to the federal government as part of the penalty for his crime.