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Trafford man pleads guilty to giving money to fugitive

| Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

A business partner of a Westmoreland County fugitive pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court in Pittsburgh to illegally withdrawing money from bank accounts and giving it to the wanted man.

Sean Kerrigan, 30, of Trafford was charged with structuring bank transactions to avoid mandatory reporting requirements, according to an indictment.

He pleaded guilty to one count before Judge Nora Barry Fischer. He will be sentenced June 29.

Banks are required to file a Currency Transaction Report, or CTR, whenever $10,000 or more is deposited, withdrawn or transferred from one account to another. The goal of making withdrawals under $10,000 is to avoid filing a report that would alert the U.S. Treasury to potential criminal acts, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

Kerrigan admitted he withdrew $108,000 between January and March 2008 in amounts under $10,000 and gave the cash to Frank Guzik Jr. of Derry, who was indicted in 2010 of bilking investors out of $7.5 million.

According to the indictment, Kerrigan made 13 withdrawals of amounts ranging from $7,100 to $9,500.

Guzik, whose last known address was in Murrysville, disappeared in 2008. He was re-indicted Feb. 15 along with a business partner, Bonnie Gardner, 54, of Murrysville, on charges of mail and wire fraud and conspiracy, according to the new indictment.

Kerrigan was involved in business dealings with Guzik, who operated East Haven Investments in Monroeville. Both men bought, renovated and then resold homes in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

Kerrigan told authorities that he was the last person to see Guzik before he left on a flight from Pittsburgh International Airport. The last known sighting of Guzik was in March 2008, according to the IRS, which said he withdrew $249,000 from an account and purchased $200,000 in untraceable gold coins from a dealer in Silsbee, Texas.

The new indictments of Guzik and Gardner alleged that they enticed investors into loaning them money, promising them earnings between 8 percent and 14 percent. Their investments would be secured by mortgages.

The two are accused of obtaining multiple mortgages on the same property. The amount of the mortgages was much higher than the actual value of the buildings, the indictment states.

Guzik and Gardner allegedly duped the investors by selling the renovated houses to straw parties to make it appear that East Haven was prospering.

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