Two Sacramento men have pleaded guilty to structuring cash transactions from marijuana sales to avoid reporting requirements.
Keni Renta, 29, and Jauwon Pierre Wilder, 28, entered the pleas today in federal court in Sacramento, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
In 2011, Renta was in the business of interstate sale of marijuana, obtaining a majority of his supply from California growers, according to court documents. He took orders from out-of-state individuals, primarily in the Midwest and Northeast. These buyers paid him by depositing cash in bank branches in other states for accounts in Renta's name or that he controlled.
Renta directed his buyers to split their deposits into amounts less than $10,000 in an attempt to avoid the banks' mandatory requirement of filing a currency transaction report, a practice known as structuring, officials said. Renta and others under his direction then withdrew the deposited cash in amounts of less than $10,000.
From June through November 2011, at least $1.3 million was deposited in accounts, and at least $942,500 of that was structured, according to the news release.
Wilder lived with Renta and assisted in his business. At Renta's direction, Wilder opened bank accounts in his own name to facilitate a larger volume of cash deposits from the out-of-state marijuana buyers. Wilder withdrew cash in amounts of less than $10,000 and provided the cash to Renta, officials said. In October and November 2011, at least $182,750 was structured into Wilder's account.
Renta and Wilder are to be sentenced Sept. 13 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C.England Jr.
The case resulted from an investigation by the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, U.S. Postal Inspections and the IRS Financial Crimes Task Force, including agents from the California Franchise Tax Board, the Sacramento Police Department and the Sacramento Sheriff's Department. Franchise Tax Board agents led the investigation team.