MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 39-year-old Zumbro Falls man pleaded guilty in Minneapolis Federal Court Tuesday to charges of money laundering, transporting stolen gem stones and conspiring to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
Richard Allen Kay, who did business in Minnesota as “Kay Diamonds,” pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to engage in interstate transportation of stolen goods and 11 counts of money laundering. Kay was indicted on Dec. 5, 2011 and did not enter into a plea agreement with the U.S. Federal Court. Instead, he offered a “straight plea” to all 13 counts in the indictment.
Kay admitted that between January of 1995 and March of 2011, he conspired with others to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. He testified in court that he specialized in high-quality marijuana, worth about $5,000 a pound.
Kay also admitted to transporting stolen gem stones over an eight-year period from a co-conspirator in Ohio to Minnesota. The indictment states Kay made about 10 trips between Ohio and Minnesota over the eight years and transported between 50 and 100 stolen gems.
He also admitted to 11 counts of money laundering and testified that on three occasions, he conducted transactions with banks involved in the benefits of drug trafficking.
Four other men pleaded guilty for their roles in the distribution of marijuana as well as helping Kay hide assets generated from the conspiracy.
The federal government is also seeking the forfeiture of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets as a result of Kay’s illegal activities, including cash, jewelry, a boat, a luxury car and a lakeshore property in Zumbro Falls.
Kay faces up to 10 years in prison on each count of money laundering as well as up to five years on the two other counts.