Calmes Motorsports charged with money laundering


The son of a Baton Rouge-area dealer principal has been indicted and faces up to 80 years in prison a fine of $2.5 million on allegations that he used the dealership to hide drug transactions.

Kevin Paul Calmes, 39, was indicted Dec. 1. The investigation concerns Calmes Motorsports in Denham Springs. U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. says a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Calmes and Calmes Motorsports LLC with conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, failure to file required reports and structuring transactions in order to evade reporting requirements.

The indictment alleges that from January 2000 through April 2007 Calmes conspired with multiple individuals to launder proceeds of narcotics trafficking and to avoid filing reports of their receipt of cash greater than $10,000. Calmes and the business are also charged with two counts of money laundering, three counts of structuring transactions so as to evade reporting requirements, and one count of failure to file reports of their receipt of cash greater than $10,000.

Any of Calmes’ property involved in, or used to facilitate, the money laundering and structuring transactions could also be subject to asset seizure if a jury finds him guilty. Fines could go as high as $3.5 million if he is convicted on all counts.

The indictment alleges that Calmes and the dealership disguised the sale of motorcycles to drug dealers by falsifying invoices to reflect the receipt of less than $10,000 cash, used nominee purchasers as stand-ins for narcotics traffickers, and divided sales into multiple transactions to avoid filing reports of their receipt of cash amounts greater than $10,000.

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires that businesses vulnerable to money laundering -- including motor vehicle dealerships -- take a number of precautions against financial crime. The precautions include filing and reporting certain data about financial transactions indicative of money laundering, including cash transactions over $10,000. More than 15 million BSA reports are filed each year by more than 25,000 U.S. financial institutions and businesses.

"This is a very serious case involving federal laws designed to prevent criminals, and those who assist them, from enjoying their illegal drug profits,” said U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute all persons who attempt to evade these important laws."

The Indictment is the result of a lengthy investigation by agents of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rene Salomon.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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