Price pleads guilty to cash transaction charges

The owner of an Eliot, Maine seafood company pleaded guilty Tuesday to a dozen federal charges for directing an employee to stagger more than USD 157,000 in cash withdrawals to avoid treasury department reporting requirements. The money was used to buy live lobsters off the dock.

John Price, the owner of J.P.'s Shellfish, had an office manager make a series of bank withdrawals from 2008 to 2010, each for less than USD 10,000, to avoid detection, according to a court document filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Employees would then use the cash to pay a dock worker at the Spruce Head Fisherman's Coop in South Thomaston for lobsters rather than buy them from a licensed wholesale dealer, Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Lipez said in the filing.

Federal law requires financial institutions to file a Currency Transaction Report with the U.S. Department of Treasury for a transaction or series of transactions exceeding USD 10,000.

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