$4.6M Seized From Indicted Kenner Store Owners

KENNER, LA (AP) — Kenner business owners Susantha Wijetunge and Manula Wijetunge have been indicted on federal charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, tax fraud and other counts.

         The defendants own VJ Discount convenience store and check-cashing business.

         NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune’s Ben Myers reports the indictment came down this past week. The government says it seized $3.6 million from VJ Discount Inc.'s accounts at two banks along with $1 million cash from the store.

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         Their attorney declined to comment on the details of the charges.

         The government alleges the couple laundered almost $340,000 by cashing dozens of fraudulently obtained refund checks provided by foreign nationals who live in Jefferson, Orleans and St. Tammany parishes. The customers, identified by their initials, obtained the checks "using false or stolen means of identification," according to the indictment.

         According to Mani G. in a January 2015 yelp.com comment, “VJ is a very good man and runs a great business…. he treats every single person that walks into his store like family…”

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         Another yelp.com comment, from Steve I. in February 2011, reads, “VJ has been around for quite some time in the same location for years. It's your typical discount store with sodas, chips, candy, beer, lotto tickets, etc. If you need a check cashed because you don't have a bank account go see VJ. He'll take care of you!”

         For more information


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