Bluefield man sentenced in federal court for faking invoices - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Bluefield man sentenced in federal court for faking invoices

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A Bluefield resident who had been in the mining supply business was sentenced to 16 months in prison for falsifying thousands of dollars in bank transactions.

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Michael J. Prasatek Sr., 67, admitted to structuring the bank transactions earlier this year.

Prasatek, who had managed several supply companies in and around southern West Virginia since 1978, admitted he knowingly provided a coal mine operator with bogus invoices in a scheme known as "selling cash." In exchange for fake supply invoices, Prasatek would receive a check in the amount of the fictitious invoice and later deposited the money into his personal bank account, then returned the cash to his associate for a fee. Goodwin said Prasatek knew  the false invoice could be used for unlawful purposes, such as filing a false tax deduction.  

To further his scheme, Prasatek admitted to opening checking accounts at two McDowell County banks using the names "Michael Prasatek DBA Prestige Paving & Sealing" and "Michael Prasatek DBA Quality Services" and routinely structured cash withdrawals.  "Structuring" involves breaking transactions down in increments of $10,000 or less to avoid financial institution reporting requirements to the IRS.

Prasatek admitted that from May 2010 until December 2011, he structured cash transactions totaling roughly $55,000, to intentionally avoid the mandatory financial reporting requirements.

In addition to his prison sentence, Senior U.S. District Court Judge David A. Faber required Prasatek to complete three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $3,000 fine.

The investigation was conducted by the IRS.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Ryan prosecuted the case.