Borger, Texas Businesswoman Pleads Guilty to Federal Financial Structuring Charge
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 22, 2011|
AMARILLO, TX—Amy Fernandez, 43, of Borger, Texas, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon before U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to one count of structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldña of the Northern District of Texas. Fernandez, who was arrested earlier this month by Special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), remains on bond. She faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine and will be required to forfeit any property or proceeds involved in the offense. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Robinson on January 31, 2012.
According to documents filed in the case, Amy Fernandez admitted that on each day between February 22, 2010 and February 26, 2010, she purchased a single cashier’s check from four separate financial institutions—Happy State Bank, Wells Fargo, Amarillo National Bank and Borger Federal Credit Union—that were intended to pay off a debt to the Texas Comptroller’s Office owed by her husband’s business, Frank’s Flooring. Fernandez’s husband, Francisco “Frank” Fernandez, 43, was indicted last week for his role in a methamphetamine and cocaine distribution conspiracy.
Amy Fernandez purchased these cashier’s checks in either $3,000 or $2,950 a.m.ounts to avoid federal financial reporting requirements. Combined, the purchases on these five days totaled $59,550. Bank tellers stated during these transactions, Fernandez tendered cash that she removed from large, gallon-sized plastic bags that she carried in her purse. During one transaction, Fernandez stated that she had to make certain that she stayed under the “$3,000 threshold.”
DEA is leading the investigation with assistance from several agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Amarillo Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Schall is in charge of the prosecution.