RAPID CITY, S.D. – A western South Dakota man pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to evading federal reporting requirements for importing foreign currency. As part of a plea agreement he will forfeit currency and assets with an estimated value of $1.2 million.
This guilty plea resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS CI), with the cooperation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Lead, S.D., Police Department.
David Olmsted, aka Dale Cooper Jr., 60, of Lead, S.D., pleaded guilty to evading reporting requirements for foreign currency transactions. According to court records, Olmsted will forfeit assets and currency worth at least $1.2 million, to include:
- $290,000 in bank accounts,
- about 449,000,000 Iraqi dinars (valued at $404,000), and
- about $500,000 in vehicles, collectible coins, and additional substitute assets.
Olmsted may also be required to pay restitution to his financial investors.
According to court documents, Olmsted arranged for shipments of Iraqi dinars, the country’s currency, to be sent from the country of Jordan to the United States in split shipments in February 2011. He had previously been federally licensed to conduct foreign currency transactions in 2004 and 2006, but his license lapsed in 2008. Also, importing Iraqi currency is against federal law.
Federal law also requires the reporting of all transactions exceeding $10,000. Olmsted illegally split the shipments to avoid exceeding that amount, and to avoid having to report the shipments to the U.S. Department of Treasury. He always had these shipments sent to residential addresses, rather than those of his businesses.
In addition, he solicited investors to fund his activities in a convoluted financial scam, whereby he promised to convert U.S. currency to dinars by selling and buying jewelry and collectible coins. He promised significant returns on the exchange of dinars for dollars to his investors.
Olmsted funneled the illicit proceeds through business and personal bank accounts in South Dakota and Wyoming. He used the proceeds from his scam to finance Internet sales and purchases of foreign currency, jewelry and collectible coins via two businesses he previously owned: Black Hills President’s Park, and the Iraqi Dinar Financial Group, both based out of his home.
In addition to the forfeiture of his assets, the maximum penalty upon conviction is five years’ imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for Sept. 13. Olmsted was released on bond pending sentencing.