SAN FRANCISCO—A San Francisco man was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison on Thursday, March 30 for laundering millions of dollars in drug money through a discount store he owned in San Francisco.
Herman Keese, 57, was sentenced in Sacramento to 13 years and eight months in prison as reported by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California. He pleaded guilty in August 2016 to the charges of drug trafficking and money laundering.
Analysis of Keese’s financial records revealed that between 2007 and October 2011, between $2 million and $3 million was deposited in various bank accounts while the reported income for the 97-cent store was approximately $355,742 for the same time period..
Keese would direct his illicit business partners to deposit thousands of dollars in cash at a time to a series of banks throughout the country. The drug trafficking and money laundering was brought to a halt when federal agents infiltrated his inner circle. In January 2010, Keese delivered nearly 32 ounces of liquid PCP to a Denny’s restaurant in Sacramento where he was met by an undercover federal ATF agent, according to the United States Department of Justice. The suspect also provided undercover agents with “free samples” of methamphetamines.
“Today’s sentencing of Herman Keese should send a clear message to would-be criminals—you will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” said Michael T. Batdorf, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Together with our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, DEA, and ATF, we will hold those engaged in similar conduct fully accountable.”
This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the IRS Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the California Highway Patrol, the Sacramento Police Department, and the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Heiko P. Coppola and Kevin Khasigian prosecuted the case.
The investigation is part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.
Written By Deanna Morgado and Casey Jacobs