Woman last sentenced in coffee cans fortune case

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — An Alabama woman was sentenced Monday to a year on probation to cap a bizarre case in which a trucker enlisted her and two others to help him hide a small fortune he found stuffed in coffee cans inside an elderly man's garage.

David Lamer, 48, and his 47-year-old wife, Roxanne, were sentenced to federal prison in September for their role in a conspiracy to defraud the United States by hiding the money from the Internal Revenue Service.

Lamer had been hired by an elderly man's family to clean out a garage, where he found more than $390,000. Instead of declaring the money as income, Lamer gave it to his wife, another friend and the woman sentenced Monday — Linda Reed, 70, of Florala, Alabama. By failing to report the windfall, David Lamer cheated the IRS out of income tax, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors have said Reed was a friend of the Lamers. Her federal public defender declined to comment on her sentencing by U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson in Johnstown, 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Edward Szuch, who formerly owned an auto parts and equipment business, was sickly when his family asked David Lamer to clean out the garage in Ebensburg. Lamer, who also lived in Ebensburg, was to remove scrap metal and other unwanted items.

Szuch's family suspected he might have hidden money in the garage, federal prosecutors said, but Lamer denied finding any cash.

Shortly after Lamer found the money in June 2007, Reed visited him and his wife and was told to take a safe with $100,000 inside back to Alabama. Once there, she wrote a $60,000 check from her bank account to pay off the Lamers' mortgage, then funneled the rest back to David Lamer by writing $40,000 worth of money orders to his wife, prosecutors said.

David Lamer was sentenced in September to 21 months in prison and ordered to repay $390,544 to Szuch's estate. He's also on the hook for $125,977 in unpaid taxes, penalties and interest.

Roxanne Lamer was sentenced to a year in federal prison, also in September.

The other friend who helped the Lamers hide $15,000 of the money was sentenced to a year on probation.

Edward Szuch died at age 87 in January 2008.

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Joe Mandak


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