The government Friday charged E.F. Hutton & Co. Inc. with conspiracy and laundering at least $532,000 for organized crime figures and businessmen who wanted to hide income from the Internal Revenue Service.
U.S. Attorney Lincoln C. Almond said the company is expected to plead guilty at a hearing on May 16, and faces a fine of $1.01 million.Two Hutton brokers were also named in the criminal information. Almond said one broker has died and charges will be filed next week against the other, who has left Hutton.
E.F. Hutton itself was acquired by Shearson Lehman Bros. last year. The felony money-laundering and conspiracy charges are the result of a much publicized investigation into the activities of Hutton's Providence office.
Hutton is charged with laundering at least $532,000, but Almond and John Voorhees, an Organized Crime Strike Force attorney for the Justice Department, said the actual amount was much greater.
Almond has said in the past the activity involved at least $1.2 million.
Under Securities and Exchange Commission rules, a felony conviction could result in suspension of investment services. But a spokesman for Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc. in New York said it expected to receive waivers that would allow it to continue business.
Almond and Voorhees said details of the crimes will be spelled out at the May 16 hearing. Almond said aside from the charges to be filed against former broker Brian J. Lareau, 46, of Jamestown, no other individuals will be charged.
A corporation can be held criminally liable for the acts of its employees, but there was no evidence that other Hutton employees participated in the crimes, Almond said.
Hutton had argued it should not be held responsible for the actions of its Providence office and that civil, not criminal, penalties were more appropriate.