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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
April 25, 2005


June W. Stansbury, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England and Kevin J. O'Connor, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal jury sitting in Hartford has convicted MICHAEL CIARCIA (DOB 5/10/64), of 113 Vincent Drive, Newington, of one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. CIARCIA is the owner of Ciarcia Construction LLC of New Britain. The trial began on April 19 and the jury returned its verdict on Friday, April 22, after approximately three hours of deliberation.

United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson has scheduled sentencing for July 8, 2005, at which time CIARCIA faces a maximum term of incarceration of 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000.

On May 26, 2004, a federal grand jury returned an Indictment against CIARCIA. The Indictment alleged, and the jury found, that, in late 2001, Ciarcia Construction LLC was employed by the New Britain Housing Authority to rehabilitate residential units in the "Pinnacle Heights" housing development. Ciarcia Construction certified to the New Britain Housing Authority that an employee, Luis Santiago, worked for 40 hours between December 10, 2001 and December 14, 2001, when, in fact, Santiago did not perform any services for Ciarcia Construction during that week. Instead, Santiago gave CIARCIA $31,000 in cash that was generated by the sale of illegal drugs. In return, CIARCIA agreed to issue weekly paychecks from Ciarcia Construction LLC to Santiago, without requiring that Santiago perform any work.

Previously, in the spring of 2002 in a separate case, Santiago pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiring to distribute cocaine and was sentenced to a term of incarceration of nine years. Santiago was also charged as a co-conspirator of CIARCIA in the Indictment returned on May 26, 2004. Santiago pleaded guilty to his involvement in this money laundering scheme on December 3, 2004. During the plea proceeding, Santiago admitted under oath that, in December 2001, he gave approximately $31,000 in United States currency to CIARCIA, which funds were obtained from Santiago's sale of illegal drugs. He further admitted that, in return, CIARCIA agreed to issue weekly paychecks from his business to Santiago for the period of one year. Santiago further admitted that between December 10, 2001 and December 14, 2002, he did not perform any services for CIARCIA. Santiago was subsequently sentenced to a term of 33 months of imprisonment on the money laundering conviction, which sentence was ordered to be served concurrent to his sentence on his prior drug conspiracy conviction.

U.S. Attorney O'Connor complimented the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New Britain Police Department for their efforts in this case.

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