The former president and co-owner of the company that planned, managed, and promoted the annual Willamette Country Music Festival in Linn County is facing possible prison time after pleading guilty Wednesday to wire fraud and money laundering, the Department of Justice said.
The DOJ describes Anne Hankins, 53, of Springfield a “serial fraudster.” She faces up to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud and 10 years for money laundering, plus up to $250,000 in fines for each count, when she is sentenced in January.
The Justice Department claims Hankins, a minority owner of Willamette Country Music Concerts, LLC, fraudulently inflated the value of the company and falsified bank statements.
Here is more from the DOJ’s statement on the allegations:
Beginning in September 2016 and continuing until March 2018, Hankins provided altered banks statements and false financial summaries to the majority owner to conceal WCMC’s true financial condition. In November 2017, the majority owner approached Hankins about purchasing her stake in the company and having Hankins continue to serve as the company’s president.
On or about February 7, 2018, Hankins sent an updated financial summary to the majority owner falsely reporting that the company had approximately $1.1 million in its operating account. In reality, there was only $16,000 in the company’s account. Based on these false financial statements, on March 1, 2018, the majority owner purchased Hankins’ stake in the company for $1.5 million.
After receiving the majority owner’s payment, Hankins directed her credit union to issue a cashier’s check from her account to the Clerk of the Court for the District of Oregon to satisfy a restitution order on a previous bank fraud conviction from 2001. Hankins thereby laundered the proceeds from one crime to pay her restitution on another.
On September 12, 2022, Hankins was charged by criminal information with one count each of wire fraud and money laundering.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and money laundering by up to 10 years in federal prison. Both charges also may result in fines of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gains or losses resulting from the offense, and three years’ supervised release.
As part of her plea agreement, Hankins has agreed to pay restitution as identified by the government and ordered by the court.