Pelham man sentenced to three years for money laundering

U.S. District Judge C. Lynwood Smith Jr. sentenced Paul Lane Jr. to three years in prison and ordered him to pay $343,900{}in restitution to{}20{}victims of the scam he perpetrated with his daughter, Katherine Hope Lane.{} Paul Lane was also ordered to forfeit $10,500 to the government as proceeds of illegal activity

Lane and his daughter collected more than $400,000 for expenses of a lawsuit that never existed.{}

"The crime in this case was plotted and executed over more than three years' time. As part of that scheme, Lane peddled a false story about a lawsuit for which his family ostensibly needed money," the government said in its sentencing memorandum to the court. "After Lane seeded the ground, Katherine fertilized and watered it with myriad lies and stories designed to engender additional sympathy and obtain more money from Lane's friends and associates. At critical times, Lane spoke to key money sources (i.e. victims) to ensure that the funds continued to flow to him and Katherine."

{}Lane's sentencing caps a six-year investigation and prosecution effort by federal and state authorities.{} In late 2009, Lane and his daughter were separately indicted for wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering for their roles in a plan to get people in other states to wire money to Lane's bank account. Those who sent money were led to believe it would go toward costs for a personal-injury lawsuit filed by the Lane family after Katherine Lane suffered a brutal assault at work.

{}The Lanes represented that proceeds from the lawsuit would be used to repay people who donated. Most who provided money also believed that they would get back from the Lanes more money than they sent. Katherine Lane, however, had not been assaulted and the Lanes had no lawsuit.

{}Over the course of several years, Lane took the money that was wired into his account and gave it to his daughter.

Katherine Lane pleaded guilty in 2010 to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.{} She was sentenced in 2011 to seven years and three months in federal prison. Katherine Lane also pleaded guilty to felony state securities fraud charges related to her actions. Her sentence of seven years and three months on the state charges was ordered to run concurrently with the federal sentence.

The Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and the Alabama Securities Commission investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa K. Atwood prosecuted the case.