News Release
March 27, 2008

Hemingway Drug Dealer’s Sister Pleads Guilty To Laundering Drug Money and Perjury

MAR 27 -- (Columbia, SC) - Acting United States Attorney KEVIN F. MCDONALD stated today that PATTY JEAN CYRUS, age 45, of Bristow, Virginia (formerly of Hemingway, South Carolina) pled guilty yesterday (March 26, 2008) in federal court in Florence to one (1) count of conspiracy to launder money and to one (1) count of perjury. United States District Judge Terry L. Wooten of Florence accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the presentence report which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

Evidence presented at the guilty plea hearing established that in 1988, CYRUS acted as a straw purchaser of real estate located on South Irby Street in Florence, South Carolina. The money used to make the $75,000.00 down payment on this property came from CYRUS’ brother, longtime drug dealer Clarence Cyrus, and one of his associates. Clarence Cyrus, who distributed hundreds of kilos of cocaine and “crack” cocaine in Florence and Williamsburg counties until his 1999 arrest by federal and state authorities, was a very secretive individual who titled assets in the names of friends, family members and associates, in order to hide the assets he acquired from his drug dealings. At the time of this 1988 purchase, PATTY CYRUS (who was then living in the Washington, DC area) agreed to Clarence Cyrus’ request to act as a nominee to purchase this property.

In 1999, state and federal agents made multiple purchases of cocaine from Clarence Cyrus at a nightclub that he built on the Irby Street property. After Clarence Cyrus was arrested, the United States began forfeiture proceedings against the Irby Street property, and PATTY CYRUS (who was then living in Pennsylvania) filed a claim asserting that she was the true owner of the property in question. PATTY CYRUS came up with a false story asserting that she borrowed the money used to make the down payment from her uncle. PATTY CYRUS then lied under oath during a deposition in connection with the forfeiture proceeding on July 13, 2001, and again provided false testimony at Clarence Cyrus’ subsequent 2001 sentencing.1/ Finally, during a 2003 hearing with respect to her claim, both PATTY CYRUS and an associate again provided false testimony; and United States District Judge Cameron MCGowan Currie denied her claim, finding that PATTY CYRUS had provided perjured testimony in support of her claim to the property.

Mr. McDonald stated the maximum penalty PATTY CYRUS can receive for conspiracy to launder money is 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of at least three years. The maximum penalty CYRUS can receive for perjury is five years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release of at least one year, plus a special assessment of $100 as to each charge.

T he case was investigated by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) , and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), assisted by agents of the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) . Assistant United States Attorneys Mark C. Moore and Nancy C. Wicker of the Columbia office prosecuted the case.

Clarence Cyrus was sentenced by United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie to a sentence of life without parole on August 6, 2001. Clarence Cyrus is currently serving that sentence in a federal prison in Florida.