Manchester man sentenced in fraud, check-cashing scheme
Jaime Salas pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in August to possessing a counterfeit "green card," and intentionally evading federal laws requiring the reporting of cash transactions related to a check-cashing business he operated at Urban Zone, 310 Main St.
He was convicted of fraud and misuse of visas and conspiracy in failing to file bank currency transaction reports as well as structuring of transactions to avoid reporting requirements.
In February, he and his wife, Gabriela Salas, forfeited $130,000 of $150,000 investigators seized from an account at Bank of America.
According to court records, a confidential informer (CI) working with authorities went to Urban Zone in April 2008 to cash a check for more than $10,000. Salas was told the CI wanted to use a different bank to avoid having to report the cash transaction.
Salas said he would cash checks in amounts over $10,000 and not file the currency transaction report (CTR) as required by law, but charged 2 percent of the check amount for the service.
On April 30, 2008, the CI brought a $13,000 check, payable to an undercover identity, to Urban Zone and gave it to Salas' wife and a copy of the payee's driver's license to Salas. Salas deposited the check into a Bank of America account and contacted the CI the following day to make arrangements for payment of $12,740 - $13,000 minus his 2 percent fee.The CI cashed a second $13,000 check in May, receiving $12,740. No cash transaction report was filed for either transaction, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Salas will begin serving his sentence on Jan. 25, 2013.
The case was investigated by the IRS, Criminal Investigations Division, the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ICE and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alfred Rubega.