October 24 2011
LOS ANGELES – A Montebello attorney who “structured” cash transactions at banks to avoid having the deposits reported to federal authorities and avoid the payment of federal income taxes was sentenced late this morning to one year in federal prison.
Anthony Luna, 72, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered the defendant to serve six months of home detention following his release from prison, pay a $40,000 fine, perform 50 hours of community service, and pay all back taxes due to the Internal Revenue Service.
Luna, who previously served as a commissioner on the Los Angeles Superior Court, pleaded guilty on March 22 to one count of conspiracy to structure cash transactions and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.
According to court documents, over the course of less than two years, Luna funneled more than $300,000 in cash through seven different bank accounts. Luna received the money in cash as payment for his legal services and rental payments on properties he owned. Luna and his co-conspirators – his daughter and his brother – deposited the money in transactions of less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements. Luna also stashed cash in several safe deposit boxes until it could be inconspicuously deposited in the accounts.
In addition to the conspiracy to structure cash transactions, Luna pleaded guilty to subscribing to a false tax return for 2008. Luna admitted that he reported gross receipts or sales of $104,225, when in fact Luna received $301,279 in gross receipts and sales during the year 2008. Luna’s actions resulted in him understating his federal income tax liability for 2008 by $66,529.
As part of his plea agreement, Luna agreed to forfeit approximately a quarter million dollars seized by authorities last year, including $130,000 in a U.S. Bank account and $54,708 in cash that was found at his Montebello residence. Luna also agreed to cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service, which has determined that Luna owes back taxes totaling $118,826 for the 2007 and 2008 tax years. Luna was ordered today to file tax returns for the years 2009 and 2010.
The California State Bar suspended Luna’s license to practice law in June, but prosecutors point out in a sentencing memo that Luna “appears to be actively practicing law on a suspended license.”
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and IRS – Criminal Investigation.