Scranton Physician and Wife Charged with $431,500 Currency Transaction Conspiracy
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 11, 2014|
The United States Attorney’s Office for Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that today a federal grand jury in Scranton indicted Leroy J. Pelicci and his wife, Ann Pelicci, for an alleged conspiracy to evade federal currency transaction reporting requirements by structuring a series of specific cash transactions at several Northeast Pennsylvania banks between 2011 and 2013.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Pelicci, a physician and owner/operator of the “Pelicci Pain Relief Center” in Scranton, and his wife, Ann Pelicci, an alleged employee of the Pain Relief Center, conspired to violate the federal law that requires reporting of suspicious currency transactions. The indictment alleges that the Peliccis withdrew approximately $431,500 in cash from accounts at four Scranton area banks—Fidelity Bank, Citizens Bank, Penn Security Bank, and FNCB—in 49 separate transactions totaling $431,500, most of which were in $9,000 amounts, “just below” the amount that would trigger the reporting requirement, between January and July 2012.
According to the United States Attorney’s Office, the alleged crime is “structuring,” the conducting of transactions in currency at one or more financial institutions for the purpose of evading federal currency transaction reporting requirements. Banking institutions are required to file currency transaction reports (CTRs) with the Internal Revenue Service for each deposit, withdrawal or exchange of currency or other payment that involves currency of more than $10,000. The law also prohibits evading or attempting to evade the reporting requirements or attempting to cause banks to fail to file CTRs.
The indictment alleges that the Peliccis began transferring funds from a Fidelity Investment account after the patient and billing records of the Pelicci Pain Relief Center became the subject of an inquiry by agencies of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The defendants allegedly opened multiple bank accounts individually in the name of Ann Pelicci and moved large amounts of cash from the investment account into those individual accounts. Beginning in January 2012, the defendants allegedly began withdrawing cash, mostly in amounts of $9,000, from the individual accounts at the four banks listed above.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment charges the Peliccis with 49 counts based on each of the alleged cash withdrawal transaction and an additional 49 counts alleging that the defendants’ activities “knowingly caused and attempted to cause, the banks to fail to file the required CTRs.”
The maximum criminal penalty provided for structuring transactions to evade CTR reporting requirements is imprisonment of not more than five years and a fine of $250,000. If the structuring involves more than $100,000 in a 12 month period, as is alleged in this case, the penalty is increased to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $500,000. The indictment also includes a count alleging that the $431,500 total amount of the currency involved in the structuring is subject to forfeiture to the United States plus “all property real or personal, involved in the offense, and all property traceable to such property.”
The investigation is being conducted by the Scranton office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski with the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office’s Victim Rights and Asset Recovery Unit.