H.B. man pleads guilty to structuring money

A Huntington Beach resident and former federal agent pleaded guilty Tuesday to using an illegal method of depositing income, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Travis Raymond Wilson, 38, of Huntington Beach, could face a maximum of five years and a $250,000 fine at his sentencing, scheduled for March 14.

The Bank Secrecy Act mandates that banks file currency transaction reports for any transaction greater than $10,000. Depositing or withdrawing cash less than that amount with the intent to hide such activities is called structuring and is illegal.

Wilson, who was a special agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation based in Fresno and recently Long Beach, admitted to structuring more than $488,000 in cash into his bank account from January 2008 to February 2013.

The former agent would regularly gamble at casinos in California, Nevada, Arizona and West Virginia during that six-year time span, according to the statement. He would frequently leave the casinos with more than $10,000 in cash, but would make smaller deposits because he didn't want the FBI to be aware of his gambling activities.

"Agent Wilson was well aware of the CTR requirement and engaged in a pattern of transactions intended to circumvent the reporting of cash transactions under the Bank Secrecy Act," said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner in the statement. "It is particularly important that federal law enforcement agents be faithful to the letter and spirit of federal law."

Jose Martinez, a special agent in charge with the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, said in the statement that partaking in structuring is used by people and businesses to "conceal the true source of their money."

— Anthony Clark Carpio

Twitter: @acocarpio

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