LIMA — Donnie Sargent didn’t really have a good answer why he broke the law again, other than he wanted to keep his auctioneering business running.
Judge David Cheney told him Tuesday to stop or face time in jail. Cheney issued a 30-day suspended jail sentence and fined him $500 on the charge of practicing auctioneering without a license, a first-degree misdemeanor.
“I think I gave you fair warning of the jail sentence hanging over your head. I will not tolerate this again,” Cheney said. “If you do this again, it’s going to be another felony and you are going to be in front of me.”
Sargent pleaded guilty to the charge last month admitting to holding an auction without a license on March 16. Licenses are issued through the Department of Agriculture.
Cheney asked Sargent a couple times to try to determine why he’s been in trouble in recent years.
“Can you give me some idea what happened over the last few years,” Cheney said.
Sargent, 66, said he just tried to keep his business going. He said it’s now shut down and he is retired living on Social Security.
In 2012, Sargent was sentenced to one day in jail and fined $7,500 on three counts of structuring to avoid currency transactions reporting requirements in federal court.
He was placed on three years probation in the federal case and paid the government $202,800 to keep a property in Coshocton. He also agreed to cooperate with the IRS civil division on a review of his taxes from 2005 to 2010.
Sargent owned Sargent’s Auctioneer and the federal charges accused him of structuring currency deposits totaling $202,800. Structure is when a person makes a series of transactions, each under $10,000, to avoid reporting requirements to the federal government.
The IRS found 19 times between Dec. 15, 2009, and Jan. 5, 2010, where Sargent deposited more than $10,000. He purchased two cashier checks totaling $193,494 and four other checks for $9,000 to purchase the property in Coshocton, the IRS reported.
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.