Check cashing business owner indicted

The co-owner of a Northeast check cashing business is facing nine federal charges for allegedly helping a sports bookmaker to conceal about $670,000 in illegal gambling proceeds.

Steven Kessler, 50, of Cherry Hill, allegedly used his business, Cottman Check Cashing at 7385 Melrose St., to cash 76 checks for the same bookie in amounts just under the minimum federal reporting requirement of $10,000. The checks were cashed between May 2009 and January 2011 and all originated with a single habitual bettor, according to a grand jury indictment released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Dec. 2.

Authorities identified the bookie as Jerold Cohen, who is charged elsewhere. Cohen allegedly instructed the bettor to pay his debts via checks in smaller amounts than $10,000. In the case of any transactions of $10,000 or above, the bank would be required to file a report with the federal government.

The staggered transfer of funds in this fashion is termed “structuring” under federal law. The indictment charges Kessler with eight counts of structuring and one count of conspiracy. ••