According to federal prosecutors, four people who participated in a 12-person criminal organization in Maine allegedly committed bank fraud and other crimes after they opened accounts with credit unions that funded an illegal $ 13 million marijuana operation. of dollars.
A 14-count criminal complaint filed in Bangor U.S. District Court last month charged 12 defendants, including a county attorney, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances , conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to commit fraud of honest services, bank fraud, tampering of process, falsification of documents, conspiracy to defraud the United States and to obstruct and undermine to the IRS, tax evasion and tax evasion.
All but one of the defendants pleaded not guilty in Bangor U.S. District Court last week. Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Kayla Alves did not plead guilty. She faces charges of falsifying procedures and documents. She allegedly informed one of the conspirators that federal authorities were investigating the illegal marijuana ring, according to court documents.
According to a criminal complaint, Lucas Sirois, 41, of Farmington, was the head of the alleged criminal organization. He and his co-conspirators have generated more than $ 13 million over six years from illegal sales of marijuana.
Prosecutors alleged that Sirois structured pot operations to make them appear as if they conformed to Maine’s medical marijuana regime as he regularly sold bulk marijuana on the illicit market, including over $ 1 million worth of marijuana for out-of-state distribution between 2018 and 2019 through one of the co-defendants, Brandon Dagnese, 27, of Scarborough, Maine.
According to prosecutors, Sirois and four other conspirators, Alisa Sirois, Bradley Scovil, Derrick Doucette and David Burgess, were charged with bank fraud for allegedly opening credit union accounts in 2019 and 2020, falsely claiming that none of the their deposits would not come directly or indirectly from any business related to marijuana.
The medical and recreational use of marijuana is legal under Maine state law.
Although federal prosecutors did not name the victimized credit unions, they did identify four Maine credit unions in which the criminal organization had accounts, including $ 479,390 at the Franklin-Somerset Federal Credit Union; $ 46,819 to the Maine Family Federal Credit Union; $ 25,277 at Evergreen Credit Union and $ 17,870 at University Credit Union. In addition, the accused held over $ 232,000 in three accounts at Skowhegan Savings Bank.
The accounts should be seized by federal authorities if the defendants plead guilty or are found guilty by a jury. In addition, 12 properties, 11 vehicles and over $ 28,000 in cash may also be forfeited.
Beverly Knapp, president / CEO of $ 120 million Franklin-Somerset in Madison, declined to comment when joined by CU time.
Kerry Hayes, executive vice president and head of BSA for the $ 232 million Maine family in Lewiston, said the credit union suffered no losses and was not used for activities money laundering involving this case.
The $ 456 million Evergreen in Portland and the $ 415 million CU University in Orono did not return UC Times’ request for comment.