Father of former NFL player guilty of federal charges
Post-Tribune staff report April 3, 2013 9:50AM
Updated: May 5, 2013 2:47PM
Eugene Wilson Sr. will be sentenced in June after a federal jury found him guilty on Tuesday of hiding his withdrawal of $178,000 from the federal government by having three friends cash checks for him.
The jury found Wilson, father of former Merrillville High School student and former NFL player Eugene Wilson Jr., guilty on four counts of money structuring.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Bell argued during the trial, which started Monday at the U.S. District Court in Hammond, that bank records showed Wilson Jr. wired his father money four times from February 2008 to May 2008, totaling $178,000.
Within minutes of each deposit, Wilson, of Merrillville, would withdraw just less than $10,000 from his First Midwest Bank account. Federal law requires banks to report anyone when they withdraw more than $10,000.
Wilson then wrote more than 30 checks, some to cash but most to three friends, for amounts of $10,000 or less. He then told the friends to cash the checks at five First Midwest branches in Highland, Gary and Merrillville. The women then gave him the cash.
One woman testified that Wilson told her he needed a favor and that he was limited to how much he could withdraw from his account each day.
His attorney Donald Samuel argued that Wilson was just concerned that the branches, most of which were inside grocery stores, wouldn’t have enough money to cover the total amount Wilson wished to withdraw. Samuel also claimed there was no evidence to show Wilson even knew about the reporting requirement.
However, Bell told the jury, bank records show that Wilson had one of his friends cash a $10,000 checks less than an hour after he withdrew $9,995 from the same branch inside the Strack and Van Til at 73rd Avenue and Taft Street in Merrillville.
Wilson still faces eight counts of wire fraud connected to claims he defrauded three friends out of $1.5 million by telling them he would invest it for them. He instead wired the money to overseas bank accounts or spent it himself, according to the charges. Those counts were originally part of the money structuring case until defense attorneys argued they should be split because the money in the structuring counts came from Wilson Jr. and had nothing to do with the wire fraud charges.
Wilson is scheduled to be sentenced on the money structuring charge on June 20.