Company must pay in scheme

A Ponchatoula man and his company pleaded guilty in New Orleans federal court Thursday to structuring financial transactions to avoid bank reporting requirements, interim U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente said Friday.

Christopher Benson, 36, and his company, Louisiana Home Elevations LLC, issued two checks totaling more than $10,000 to a man named Adolfo Hernandez, who has since pleaded guilty to conspiracy to harbor illegal aliens, Boente said in a news release.

Hernandez then cashed the checks on separate days, Boente said.

Benson and his company helped Hernandez engage in these structured currency transactions knowing the bank was required to report any transaction in excess of $10,000, Boente said.

Benson faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years imprisonment, followed by a term of supervised release of up to three years, and a $250,000 fine, Boente said.

The company faces a maximum of five years probation and a maximum $500,000 fine.

Sentencing has been scheduled for both defendants on March 21 at 9:30 a.m.