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Financial Crimes

Greenwich nail salon owner sentenced for currency structuring, immigration offenses

HARTFORD, Conn — An Englewood, N.J., woman was sentenced Friday to three years of probation for currency structuring and immigration offenses follow an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Jae Hee Yang, 58, formerly known as Jae Hee Yang Kim, must also forfeit $100,000 and perform 150 hours of community service.

Federal law requires all financial institutions to file a currency transaction report for currency transactions that exceed $10,000. To evade the filing of a report, individuals will often structure their currency transactions so that no single transaction exceeds $10,000. Structuring involves the repeated depositing or withdrawal of amounts of cash less than the $10,000 limit, or the splitting of a cash transaction that exceeds $10,000 into smaller cash transactions in an effort to avoid the reporting requirements. Even if the deposited funds are derived from legitimate means, financial transactions conducted in this manner still violate federal criminal law.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Yang is the sole owner of Tip Top Nails Inc., a nail salon located in Old Greenwich. Between May and September 2009, Yang made 15 cash withdrawals in increments ranging from $4,000 to $8,000, and totaling $100,000, from a bank in New Jersey where she maintained a business checking account. The currency was generated from the operation of Tip Top Nails. At the time, Yang knew the bank had to issue a report for a currency transaction in excess of $10,000. By conducting her financial transactions in amounts less than $10,001, she intended to evade the transaction reporting requirements.

Tip Top Nails also employed individuals who were unauthorized aliens not permitted to work in the United States, paid the aliens in cash rather than by check as it did with legal employees and transported the aliens between New York and Greenwich daily.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.