PORTLAND, Maine — A 51-year-old Portland man was found guilty Wednesday of structuring more than $530,000 in cash transactions in an effort to evade federal cash transaction reporting requirements in U.S. District Court in Portland.
Habib Munye’s conviction followed a three-day bench trial before Judge George Z. Singal, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II.
Under federal law, financial institutions that receive more than $10,000 in cash from a customer are required to report the transaction to the Internal Revenue Service.
Financial institutions also must record certain information and verify the identity of anyone who uses cash to purchase $3,000 or more worth of money orders on the same day.
Structuring occurs when customers break up their cash transactions into multiple increments of less than $10,000 or $3,000 to avoid these cash transaction reporting requirements.
According to court records and trial evidence, Munye was a licensed money transmitter who served as the local agent for Dahabshil, an international money transfer company.
Between April 2009 and February 2010, Munye structured 39 cash deposits into his bank account to avoid the bank’s currency transaction reporting requirement by converting some of his cash into money orders before he made his deposits.
On 16 occasions, Munye also structured the purchase of money orders by purchasing several $500 or $1,000 money orders at multiple locations but never purchasing more than $2,000 at the same location during the same transaction.
Court documents show that Munye conducted these money transfer activities out of the African Style Store, a retail business that he owned and operated in Portland. He reportedly purchased money orders from the U.S. Postal Service and from local businesses that issue MoneyGram money orders.
The offenses occurred from April 3, 2009, through Feb. 19, 2010.
Munye faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 on each count. He will be sentenced after completion of a presentence report by the United States Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with assistance from the respective Offices of Inspector General of the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Health and Human Services.