Conway Retailer Patrice Duncan Pleads Guilty to Federal Felony Charge

by Gwen Moritz  on Wednesday, May. 14, 2014 7:59 pm  

Patrice Duncan, an owner with her husband, Gary, of Duncan Outdoor in Conway, has pleaded guilty to a single count of structuring a financial transaction in order to evade bank reporting requirements on cash deposits of more than $10,000.

Both Duncans had been scheduled for trial this week. Gary Duncan's trial has tentatively been rescheduled for Nov. 3, but his lawyer, Blake Hendrix, told Arkansas Business that all charges against Gary Duncan will be dropped if his wife's plea is accepted U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr.

After Patrice Duncan's plea last week, Moody issued a preliminary order that she forfeit $94,500 that was in a Centennial Bank account when she and her husband were indicted in September 2012.  

Twenty additional counts of structuring that were included in will be dismissed against Patrice Duncan, 59. The plea agreement recommends probation rather than a prison term. (An earlier version of this story said the guideline sentence was six to 12 month in federal prison, but the plea agreement - if accepted by Judge Moody - calls for no prison time or fine.)

The plea was announced Wednesday in a news release issued by U.S. Attorney Christopher Thyer and Christopher A. Henry, the special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Field Office in Nashville, Tennessee.

According to the announcement, an undercover agent purchased a motorcycle from Duncan Outdoor with cash in the fall of 2011. The agent, wearing a recording device, discussed "that she would not deposit all the money at one time so that the bank wouldn’t fill out the forms that document transactions over $10,000."

She subsequently deposited $9,400 of the cash purchase price on one day and the remaining $2,000 three days later.

Patrice and Gary Duncan — as well as Patrice's defense attorney, Erin Cassinelli of Little Rock, Republican gubernatorial candidate Curtis Coleman and others — appeared in an online video called Rampant Injustice that complained about the tactics used by federal agents when a search warrant was executed at Duncan Outdoor was. The video also reenacts the "raid" on Mountain Pure, the water bottling company in southwest Little Rock owned by John Stacks, who was indicted in December on federal felony charges related to a Small Business Administration loan.

Stacks is scheduled for trial beginning Sept. 29.



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