Seven Indicted in Money Laundering Scheme
BOSTON (AP) _ Seven people were indicted Friday on money laundering charges stemming from a nationwide IRS investigation that has already netted 19 convictions, including that of former Rep. Pat Swindall of Georgia.
The seven men are charged with laundering money they were told was the profit of a south Florida drug trafficker. The cash actually was supplied by an undercover IRS agent, according to the indictment.
The money laundering investigation has been under way since 1987 and has so far resulted in 19 convictions in Baltimore, Atlanta, Tulsa, Okla.; Dallas; and San Juan, Puerto Rico; the IRS said in a statement.
Former Rep. Robert Hanrahan, R-Ill., has pleaded guilty to violating currency laws, and last month Swindall was convicted of 10 counts of lying to a grand jury about his involvement in the scheme.
The IRS sting also has nabbed attorneys, bankers and a former Nixon aide.
According to Friday’s indictment, the seven Massachussets and Connecticut men tried to circumvent federal laws that require banks to report cash transactions of more than $10,000, dividing up money into smaller sums, exchanging cash for checks, which they swapped amongst themselves, and buying insurance annuitites under fake names.
Charges against them include conspiracy to defraud the government of over $1 million, lying to the government and filing false currency reports.
Indicted were: Peter E. Knox, 42, of Littleton; Edmond P. LaFrance, 44, of Stoneham; Richard A. LaFrance, 51, of Acton; Alfred G. Maroun 57, of Boston; Donald J. Mackinnon, Jr., 55, of Boston; William H. O’Leary, Sr., 65, of Westwood; and Frank S. Sottile, 60, of Simsbury, Ct.
Two Massachusetts businesses were also charged, Maroun Brothers, Inc., a food distributor in Lawrence, and FDM Corp., doing business as Barnaby’s restaurant in Littleton.
Reached at his business Friday, Maroun said the indictments came as a total surprise.
He said he did not know any of the other defendants and had never met Charles LeChasney, an informant who has figured in several of the cases.
″This is sort of a very odd situation,″ he said, referring other questions to his attorney.
Richard LaFrance said federal investigators had asked to examine his books about a year and a half ago. ″They didn’t really ask anything, they just took the records and left,″ he said.
The other defendants could not be reached for comment. Knox and O’Leary were not listed in the telephone directory. Edmond LaFrance and Mackinnon did not return telephone calls to their homes, and calls to Sottile’s home went unanswered.
Prosecutor Patrick Walsh, a special attorney with the Department of Justice in Washington, said Edmond LaFrance was arrested, but has not yet entered a plea. The others face arraignment next week, he said.
Walsh said the investigation in each city has relied on the same undercover IRS agent posing as a front man for drug dealers, and the same confidential informant.
An admitted con man convicted of money laundering, LeChasney, testified in June against Swindall and also figured in the case against Robert C. Schultz, a Washington banker. Prosecutors said Schultz advised LeChasney and Hanrahan on how to set up bank accounts to shield money laundering activities. Schultz pleaded guilty and is to be sentenced Sept. 20.
Walsh would not comment on whether any of the New England men also had dealings with LeChasney.
The indictment alleges that the defendants received commissions of 6 percent to 8 percent on the money they laundered, and filtered the money through more than a dozen Massachusetts and Connecticut banks.