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July 1, 09

NEWS / Missouri Woman Sentenced for Money Laundering


KANSAS CITY, KS—Arlene Francis, 48, Parkville, Mo., has been sentenced to 3 years probation with a condition of 6 months home detention, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.

Francis pleaded guilty to four counts of money laundering. In her plea, she admitted she conducted financial transactions meant to conceal the source and control of funds obtained by fraud from Associated Wholesale Grocers, 5000 Kansas Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

Associated was one of the nation’s largest retailer-owned grocery wholesalers, serving more than 1,500 stores in 21 states. In her plea, Francis admitted that she and co-defendants Aponte Gomez, William Morrison and Crystal Hall devised a scheme to defraud the wholesale grocer by submitting fraudulent invoices from an entity called Innovative Cleaning requesting payment for products and services the wholesale grocer never received. As a result of the scheme, the conspirators illegally obtained more than $652,549. Innovative Cleaning operated no warehouse or other legitimate businesses at its addresses and was not registered or licensed to do business in Missouri.

Co-defendants in the case include:

* Aponte Gomez, who was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison.
* William Morrison, who is set for sentencing July 30, 2009.
* Crystal Hall, who is set for sentencing July 13, 2009.

Welch commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken for their work on the case.

 




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