Criminal Justice News

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Northern Cambria Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Launder Drug Proceeds

JOHNSTOWN, PA—A resident of Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Robert J. Paterno, 48, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that from March 2008 to May 9, 2011, Paterno conspired to commit money laundering. In addition, evidence presented to the court at the time of Paterno’s guilty plea reflected that Paterno conspired with George M. Lowmaster and others to conduct financial transactions involving proceeds generated through Lowmaster’s drug distribution organization with the intent to conceal the source of the proceeds and with the intent to promote the carrying on of Lowmaster’s drug distribution organization.

Judge Gibson scheduled sentencing for November 6, 2012 at 10 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court continued Paterno on bond.

Assistant United States Attorney John J. Valkovci, Jr. is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

A joint task force, headed by the Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Paterno. Other agencies participating on the task force include the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Pennsylvania State Police; the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office; the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office; the Carrolltown Police Department; the Patton Police Department; the Ebensburg Police Department; the Portage Police Department; and the Paint Township Police Department.

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