Testimony begins in Calmes federal trial

Kevin Calmes
Kevin Calmes

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Tuesday was the first full day of testimony in the Federal money laundering case against Kevin Calmes and Calmes Motorsports. An undercover IRS agent was on the stand most of the day outlining his case against Calmes. Kevin Calmes is charged with taking cash and not reporting it properly to the IRS.

The undercover agent told his story to the federal jury, taking up most of the day's testimony. The man, who we will not identify, testified that he met with Kevin Calmes three times in an effort to bait him into breaking IRS rules on reporting form 8300.

Form 8300 is an IRS mandatory reporting form for retailers when anyone spends more than $10,000 in any cash transaction. IRS considers cash, money orders, cashier's checks, and bank drafts as cash transactions.

The agent showed undercover footage of Kevin Calmes insisting that he would not break the law for the agent who posed as a drug dealer. The agent eventually would purchase a Suzuki motorcycle from Calmes for $13,431.59. The agent gave him $10,000 in cash, but on the tape, Calmes insisted the agent write a personal check for the remainder or he would have to turn in the IRS form.

Defense attorneys refuted the claims that Calmes was laundering the money by pointing out he refused to cooperate with the IRS agent and the way he wanted to do that transaction.

Late in the afternoon, Jeremiah Baham was on the stand for the government. Baham has served 11 out of 20 years for a cocaine dealing sentence. He testified for the government that he was a regular customer at Calmes in the late 90's, eventually purchasing two bikes from Calmes.

Defense attorneys asked Baham if he was testifying to get out of jail early. "I would appreciate any consideration." Baham responded. "I bet you would." said John McLinton, Calmes lawyer. "I'd bet you would say anything to get out early."

Prosecutors routinely won't comment during trial. Tuesday, McLinton and Calmes Motorsports lawyer Frank Holthaus passed on commenting.

If convicted, Calmes could spend the next 80 years behind bars and pay a $2.5 million fine.

Federal Judge Lance Alfrick, a New Orleans-area judge, is presiding over the case.

Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Money laundering

Failure to file required reports

Structuring transactions in order to evade reporting requirements

Calmes pleaded not guilty to the charges in Dec. 2011.

Federal agents raided Calmes Motorsports last year after a 10-year investigation into the company.

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