Amy Fernandez of Borger has been charged with structuring, or attempting to structure, a financial transaction.
In the criminal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas (Amarillo Division), Fernandez allegedly structured, attempted to structure, and attempted to assist in structuring currency transactions with one or more domestic financial institutions, by purchasing 39 cashier's checks with United States currency in amounts of $3,000 or less.
In the probable cause section of the complaint, it states that in March of 2010, Fernandez paid off a debt of $402,673.98 to the Texas State Comptroller in Amarillo. The debt was owed by Frank's Floor Covering, a business owned and operated by her husband Frank.
Records obtained from the Texas State Comptroller show that Fernandez purchased 37 separate cashier checks in the amount of $3,000 or less to pay towards this balance. Because federal reporting requirements require that any cashier's check over $3,000 be reported, $3,000 represents the maximum allowable amount to avoid reporting requirements.
Of the checks purchased by Fernandez, 24 of these checks were purchased on six separate days with one check each from four separate domestic leading institutions, which were Happy State Bank, Wells-Fargo, Amarillo National Bank, and Borger Federal Credit Union.
On each of these six days, four of which were concurrent – Feb. 22, 2010 to Feb. 25, 2010; Fernandez conducted transactions involving $10,000 or more with financial institutions which totaled $71,250 for the period.
Put simply, on four consecutive days at the end of February 2010, Fernandez purchased cashier's checks from four separate domestic lending institutions for amounts just below those required by federal reporting requirements.
State comptroller records show that the 37 cashier checks from the four financial institutions totaled $99,950 of the funds used to pay off the debt. Amarillo National Bank records show that between Jan. 27, 2010, and Feb. 26, 2010, Fernandez engaged in ten cash transactions from that bank totaling $29,100.
Bank tellers told investigators that Fernandez tendered cash in each transaction to purchase a cashier's check and stated that Fernandez brought this cash with her to the bank in large, gallon-size plastic bags carried in her purse.
The tellers said the cash tendered by Fernandez was damp and had a chemical odor. One teller stated that during one transaction, Fernandez stated that she wanted to make certain that she stayed under the $3,000 threshold.
According to Pete De Los Santos, a litigation financial analyst working for the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas, records for Chase Bank and Wells Fargo Bank show that on March 8, 9, and 10, 2010, her son Tyler Fernandez used cash to purchase a cashier's check at each bank in the sum of $2,900. The combined total of these six separate transactions was $17,400.
De Los Santos said that on the following day, March 11, 2010, Tyler used cash to purchase a cashier's check at Chase Bank for $2,600, making for a four-day total of $20,000 in cashier's check transactions, all of which were separately under the $3,000 reporting requirement.
When questioned by bank tellers about the manner in which he was conducting the transactions, Tyler Fernandez stated that “his mother had told him to do it that way.”
Daryl Walker, a special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said there is probable cause to file this complaint against Fernandez as the result of an in-depth investigation.