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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
A Baton Rouge-area businessman is accused of conspiring to launder drug money and disguising the sale of motorcycles to drug dealers.
Kevin Calmes, 39, was indicted Thursday. He faces 80 years in prison and a fine of $2.5 million. The investigation surrounds Calmes Motorsports in Denham Springs.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Calmes and Calmes Motorsports, L.L.C., with conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, failure to file required reports and structuring transactions in order to evade reporting requirements.
HERE IS INFORMATION FROM THE U.S. ATTORNEY'S NEWS RELEASE:
The Indictment alleges that from January 2000 through April 2007, CALMES MOTORSPORTS, L.L.C. and KEVIN PAUL CALMES conspired with multiple individuals to launder proceeds of narcotics trafficking and to avoid filing reports of their receipt of cash greater than $10,000. KEVIN PAUL CALMES and CALMES MOTORSPORTS, L.L.C. are also charged with two counts of money laundering, three counts of structuring transactions so as to evade reporting requirements, and one count of failure to file reports of their receipt of cash greater than $10,000.
KEVIN PAUL CALMES faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison, fines of $2,500,000, and forfeiture of all property involved in, or used to facilitate, the money laundering and structuring transactions. If convicted, CALMES MOTORSPORTS, L.L.C. faces fines of $3,500,000 and the forfeiture of all property involved in, or used to facilitate, the money laundering and structuring transactions.
The Indictment alleges that KEVIN PAUL CALMES and CALMES MOTORSPORTS, L.L.C. disguised the sale of motorcycles to drug dealers by falsifying invoices to reflect the receipt of less than $10,000 cash, used nominee purchasers as stand-ins for narcotics traffickers, and divided sales into multiple transactions in order to avoid filing reports of their receipt of cash amounts greater than $10,000.
The Bank Secrecy Act ("BSA") requires that businesses, including motor vehicle dealerships which are vulnerable to money laundering, take a number of precautions against financial crime. The precautions include filing and reporting certain data about financial transactions indicative of money laundering, including cash transactions over $10,000. Over 15 million BSA reports are filed each year by more than 25,000 U.S. financial institutions and businesses. Such reports are vital weapons in law enforcement's effort to detect and prevent money laundering and financial crimes.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., stated, "This is a very serious case involving federal laws designed to prevent criminals, and those who assist them, from enjoying their illegal drug profits. We will continue to aggressively prosecute all persons who attempt to evade these important laws."
IRS Special Agent-in-Charge Jim Lee stated, "That IRS-Criminal Investigations will continue to investigate those businesses and employees that knowingly assist drug dealers by hiding their illegal profits in financial transactions. Money laundering will not be tolerated by anyone."
The Indictment is the result of a lengthy investigation by agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rene Salomon.
NOTE: An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that probable cause exists to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial.
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