A former FBI official who resides in Huntington Beach pleaded guilty to illegally structuring bank transactions to keep his employers from knowing about his gambling winnings at casinos in California, Nevada, Arizona and West Virginia.
Travis Raymond Wilson, 38, accepted a plea deal that had him copping to violating the federal Bank Secrecy Act, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced Tuesday.
You probably know that bank deposits of $10,000 generate Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) that are filed with the U.S. Department of Treasury and made available to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI. What you may not know is making cash deposits of $10,000 or less to purposely avoid a financial institution from filing CTRs is a federal crime known as structuring transactions. That's what Wilson pleaded guilty to doing.
He was most recently a supervisory special agent in the FBI Long Beach Resident Office of the Los Angeles Field Office and before that a special agent assigned to the Fresno Resident Agency of the Sacramento Field Office. The case against him went through the federal courthouse in Fresno.
According to court documents, Wilson between January 2008 and February of this year regularly gambled at casinos in California, Nevada, Arizona and West Virginia--and frequently left with more than $10,000 in cash winnings. He admitted to structuring more than $488,000 in cash into his bank account over that time period to prevent CTRs from being filed because he did want not the FBI to become aware of his gambling.
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"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," Wagner said in a statement. "It is particularly important that federal law enforcement agents be faithful to the letter and spirit of federal law."
Wilson's transactions eventually raised suspicions within the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation division, which was joined by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General and the Central California Financial Crimes Task Force in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Grant B. Rabenn prosecuted the case.
The ex-agent is scheduled to go before U.S. District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii on March 3, when Wilson faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Ishii can tweak the sentence based on several factors, including Wilson's guilty plea.