Iowa: Shawn Helstein Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

Iowa Man, Shawn Helstein Pleads Guilty to Participating in Money Laundering Conspiracy

CONCORD (STL.News) Shawn Helstein, 45, of Iowa, pleaded guilty in federal court on Wednesday to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley announced today.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on November 8, 2018, Helstein was observed by law enforcement agents in the presence of a large-scale methamphetamine trafficker, Jacob MacQuarrie, at a hotel in Bow, New Hampshire.  MacQuarrie was arrested on an outstanding warrant.  Helstein was found in possession of $2,080 in cash, which was seized.  In later statements to investigators, Helstein admitted that he knew that MacQuarrie was trafficking methamphetamine.  He said the money belonged to MacQuarrie and that they were planning to deposit the money into a cryptocurrency ATM.

Helstein said MacQuarrie had given him the money earlier in the day and had him download a bitcoin app.  MacQuarrie gave Helstein his password and said he would show him how to convert the money into crypto currency at a location in Concord.  Helstein stated that he believed MacQuarrie was ordering drugs and moving money on the dark web.

Helstein is scheduled to be sentenced on February 7, 2022.  MacQuarrie is serving a ten-year sentence for participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy and possessing a firearm during a drug crime.

“Money laundering crimes help drug dealers and other criminals disguise the illegal source of their funds,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Farley.  “Because money laundering activities provide important financial support to drug traffickers, we will not hesitate to bring criminal charges against those who aid criminals by laundering their drug proceeds.”

This matter was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bow Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Davis.