Two Platte City Women Charged in marijuana, money laundering scheme

A pair of Platte City women could be facing a long prison stay for their role in a money laundering scheme. Mendy Read-Forbes, 37, and Laura Shoop, 46, are charged in a superseding indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. In addition, Read-Forbes is charged with 16 counts of money laundering and Shoop is charged with eight counts of money laundering.

The indictment alleges that Forbes and Newhard Credit Solutions was registered as a non-profit organization that provided credit counseling services to people in bankruptcy proceedings. Forbes was listed as the owner-operator while Shoop was an acquaintance of Forbes who worked for the agency at various times. However, Forbes was not a legal owner, but did have control over the company’s bank account along with another person.

According to a press release, in March and April 2012 Forbes was introduced to an undercover officer posing as a marijuana dealer. Forbes offered to devise a scheme to launder the dealer’s drug profits. As part of the scheme, Forbes offered to deposit the drug dealer’s money is the Kansas-based bank accounts of Forbes and Newhard Credit Solutions or related companies and then to return the money to the dealer via checks, money orders or wire transfers.

In addition, Forbes created Maximum Lawn Care, LLC, and opened bank accounts in the fictitious companies name to deposit the drug money.

If convicted, both women face a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the conspiracy to commit money laundering charge and each of the money laundering counts; and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the marijuana counts.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Oakley and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jabari Wamble are prosecuting and have requested that the trial be held in Kansas City, Kan.