ARRESTED IN TEXAS: Noted accountant booked for money laundering

MCKINNEY, Texas — A Columbia City man is in jail in Collin County, Texas on charges of money laundering, a first degree felony.Duane Ducharme, 70, was booked April 13 and has not been released as of press time. He is being held on a $500,000 surety bond.According to the arrest report, Ducharme was observed by agents of both the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Drug Enforcement Agency as part of what those agencies say is an ongoing investigation.Investigators allege Ducharme and a man named Jason Peebles were seen exchanging a large storage tub, which was placed into the trunk of Ducharme’s car.Agents then followed Ducharme to a store where he purchased a shipping box.Ducharme was then approached, according to the affidavit, and gave agents permission to search his trunk.Authorities report that four individually-wrapped bundles of currency were retrieved from the tub. They then took Ducharme into custody.Ducharme could not be reached for comment. The phone number listed in his name in no longer in service and his Texas-based attorney did not return phone calls. Ducharme has property listed in his name in Whitley County.According to Jessica Griffith with the Collin County Justice Courts, an examining trial is scheduled for May 25.“At this trial they will discuss if they have enough probable cause to hold Mr. Ducharme until his trial for the charges,” Griffith wrote in an email.“At this time, the DA’s office is still investigating the charges so there is not a case against him at this time.”A bond reduction hearing is also set for later this month.According to Judge Paul Raleeh of Collin County Texas’s Justice Court 1, the investigating agencies requested a sizeable bail amount “because they found in his possession several passports and considered him to be a flight risk.”