Naples Businessman and Wife Indicted for Structuring and Bankruptcy Fraud
FORT MYERS, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging Naples residents Sydney Jackson Williams, Jr. (66) and his wife, Lorie Ann Williams (48), with conspiracy to evade transaction reporting requirements and structuring cash withdrawals. Additionally, the indictment charges Sydney Williams with concealing property belonging to his bankruptcy estate and making a false declaration in relation to his bankruptcy proceedings. If convicted on all counts, Sydney Williams faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, and Lorie Williams faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. The indictment also notifies the couple that the United States intends to forfeit $332,500, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.
According to the indictment, from March 3, 2010, through April 22, 2010, Sydney and Lorie Williams conspired with each other to knowingly structure, assist in structuring, and attempt to structure withdrawals from a bank. The purpose of the structuring was to evade bank reporting requirements for currency transactions in excess of $10,000. As part of the conspiracy, Lorie Williams opened a checking account at a bank and wrote checks made payable to cash, each in the amount of $9,500. The couple then made 35 withdrawals by cashing the $9,500 checks, totaling $332,500.
The indictment also alleges that on September 30, 2010, Sydney Williams filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida. On October 27, 2010, he signed, under penalty of perjury, and filed his Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs in connection with his bankruptcy petition. In his bankruptcy proceedings, Sydney Williams concealed from the Chapter 11 Trustee and the creditors, property belonging to his estate, specifically, a safe deposit box held at a bank.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Yolande G. Viacava and Charles D. Schmitz.