US: Man pleads guilty to 36 counts of money laundering
Publicado el Feb 10, 2011
vcstar.com.- A Sherman Oaks man who was growing more than 1,000 marijuana plants inside a Lockwood Valley house pleaded guilty Tuesday to 36 counts of money laundering and one felony count of possessing marijuana for sale, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Steven Kall's sophisticated indoor marijuana growing operation was discovered after electrical power outages in the area were found to be caused by a malfunctioning electrical transformer on Kall's property, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Kevin Drescher.
Ventura County sheriff's deputies traced the source of the outages to Kall's house, where they detected the smell of marijuana. After obtaining a search warrant, authorities found the marijuana plants, which had a street value of more than $4 million, according to Drescher.
Kall also admitted in court that he laundered more than $1 million.
In addition to the plants, detectives seized $350,000 in cash and one vehicle from Kall, Drescher said.
Superior Court Judge David Long scheduled Kall's sentencing for March 10. He faces four years and four months in prison, Drescher said.
Kall told authorities in a June 2009 interview that the pot was being grown for the Golden State Collective medical marijuana dispensary in Granada Hills, according to court records. Detectives later learned Kall was part owner of Golden State, said Drescher.
On June 30, 2009, detectives executed search warrants at the dispensary, Kall's Sherman Oaks apartment and a house Kall rented in Granada Hills, where more marijuana plants were being grown indoors.
Investigators reported finding cash along with records of large deposits in bank accounts held in the names of four corporations. The money was "moved from one account to the other in an attempt to conceal its true source," District Attorney Investigator Jeff Barry wrote in an affidavit.
Anne Adams, 47, of Sherman Oaks and Jimmy Silva, 26, of Northridge both pleaded guilty last year for their role in the money laundering operation. Adams was sentenced to 176 days in jail and Silva got 120 days, according to Drescher.
Drescher credits detectives from the Ventura County Combined Agency Task Force, sheriff's investigators and the District Attorney's Office for the arrest and prosecution of the three defendants.