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Financial Crimes

Owner of illegal money transmitting business sentenced to 2 years in prison, ordered to forfeit 690,000 dollars

OCALA, Fla. - Andrew D. Lemine, 54, of Paisley, Fla., was sentenced Thursday to two years in federal prison for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The court also ordered Lemine to forfeit $690,068.13, an amount equal to his proceeds from the offense.

"This sentencing should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can profit by helping others get around our federal financial and employment laws," said Susan McCormick, ICE special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Tampa.

According to court documents, between Jan. 1, 2004 and Dec. 31, 2008, Lemine, owner of Sorrento Grocery in Sorrento, Fla., cashed more than $4 million in checks from a local construction company in return for a fee of between 1 and 1.5 percent of the checks' face value.

He did so knowing that the owners of the construction company were attempting by cashing the checks through the grocery to conceal their employment of illegal aliens, avoid paying worker's compensation and employment taxes, and hide income from state and federal tax officials.

Lemine had pled guilty on May 27 to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

The construction company was investigated by the state. Its owner has pleaded guilty to state charges of workers' compensation fraud.