President of Willamette Country Music Concerts pleads guilty to wire fraud and money laundering | USAO-OR

EUGENE, Ore.—The former president and minority owner of Willamette Country Music Concerts, LLC, which planned, managed and promoted the annual Willamette Country Music Festival in Linn County, Oregon, pleaded guilty today to tampering with bank statements and financial summaries to influence the sale of his stake in the business.

Anne Hankins, 53, a resident of Springfield, Oregon, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and money laundering.

“With today’s guilty plea, Ms. Hankins has been proven to be a serial fraudster,” said Craig Gabriel, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “Falsifying bank statements and laundering money to fraudulently inflate the value of a business are serious federal crimes.”

“Ms. Hankins blatantly cheated on her business associate and stole money that never belonged to her. However, today the curtains have fallen and Ms. Hankins is facing the music for her fraud,” said said Special Agent in Charge Bret Kressin, IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS:CI), Seattle Field Office.

According to court documents, as the former minority owner of Willamette Country Music Concerts (WCMC), Hankins owned 49% of the company. As president of WCMC, Hankins was responsible for preparing monthly financial statements which she provided by email to the majority owner of the company, based in Beverley Hills, California.

Beginning in September 2016 and continuing through March 2018, Hankins provided altered bank statements and false financial summaries to the majority owner to conceal WCMC’s true financial situation. In November 2017, the majority owner approached Hankins to buy his stake in the company and have Hankins continue as chairman of the company.

On or about February 7, 2018, Hankins sent an updated financial summary to the majority owner, incorrectly reporting that the company had approximately $1.1 million in its operating account. In reality, there was only $16,000 in the company’s account. Based on these fake financials, on March 1, 2018, the majority owner purchased Hankins’ stake in the company for $1.5 million.

After receiving payment from the majority owner, Hankins ordered his credit union to issue a cashier’s check from his account to the clerk of the Oregon District Court to satisfy a restitution order on a previous bank fraud conviction. of 2001. Hankins thus laundered the proceeds of one crime to pay his restitution on another.

On September 12, 2022, Hankins was charged by criminal intelligence with one count each of wire fraud and money laundering.

Wire fraud is punishable by 20 years in federal prison and money laundering by 10 years in federal prison. Both counts can also result in fines of up to $250,000, which is double the gross gains or losses from the offense, and three years’ supervised release.

Hankins will be sentenced on January 5, 2023 by U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

As part of his plea deal, Hankins agreed to pay the government-identified and court-ordered restitution.

This case has been investigated by the IRS:CI and the FBI, and is being prosecuted by Gavin W. Bruce, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Comments are closed.