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Pair plead guilty to money laundering

Two men pleaded guilty Monday to money laundering charges in connection with a scheme to defraud crop insurance companies, authorities said.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two men pleaded guilty Monday to money laundering charges in connection with a scheme to defraud crop insurance companies, authorities said.

Joseph Eugene Eason, 77, of Macclesfield, and Kenneth Gene Kelly, 46, of Lucama, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money. They will be sentenced later, when they face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Federal authorities said Kelly, a tobacco broker in Wilson, issued small checks to people who claimed to have insured losses on their tobacco. The checks were small enough so that banks wouldn't file a report when they were cashed, authorities said.

Eason helped Kelly in the scheme, authorities said.

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