Monday, May 30, 2011

John A. Ortiz Admits Structuring More Than $943,000 in Cash Transactions


David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that JOHN A. ORTIZ, 54, of Stratford, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in Bridgeport to one count of illegally structuring cash transactions.

Federal law requires all financial institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) for currency transactions that exceed $10,000. To evade the filing of a CTR, 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 a legitimate means, financial transactions conducted in this manner are still in violation of federal criminal law.

According to court documents and statements made in court, ORTIZ maintained a money market savings account at a credit union, and also had a personal line of credit at a bank. Between May 2006 and October 2009, ORTIZ made more than 70 large cash deposits into his savings account and more than 30 large cash payments to his personal line of credit account. The vast majority of the cash transactions were in the amount of $9000, and none exceeded $10,000. In total, ORTIZ structured approximately $943,000 in cash deposits and line of credit payments.

ORTIZ used the deposited funds to purchase, or to obtain credit in order to purchase, properties in Connecticut and Florida. ORTIZ also used more than $270,000 of the structured funds to settle a business dispute with his former partner.

ORTIZ owns and operates towing and auto repair businesses in Bridgeport and Stratford.

Judge Hall has scheduled sentencing for August 25, 2011, at which time ORTIZ faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000. ORTIZ also has agreed to forfeit approximately $388,540 to the government.

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