The owners of a buy-here, pay-here operation in Louisiana recently pleaded guilty to laundering money for drug dealers.
William Paul Boyter, Michael Paul Boyter and Anthony Reuben Riley, all of Shreveport, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, money laundering, tax evasion, failure to comply with federal banking regulations, and wire fraud. Also charged as defendants in the case are two businesses operated by the three defendants: Mike's Auto Sales Inc. and A-1 Auto Finance Co.
According to evidence presented in the 19-count superseding indictment filed in September 2012, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering beginning in 1996 through November 2010. The defendants' scheme revolved around the sale and financing of used and new vehicles to individuals who derived, or represented that they derived, significant income from the distribution of illegal drugs.
The defendants knowingly accepted cash proceeds from drug dealers, allowed vehicle purchases in the names of nominees, and falsified records of payments received. The defendants provided false information to law enforcement agencies, including the Shreveport Police Department and the Harrison County Sheriff's Office, to facilitate the release of vehicles seized from drug dealers.
In 2009 and 2010, the FBI conducted multiple "sting" operations directing cooperating individuals to purchase vehicles in the names of nominees and using large cash payments towards the purchase of those vehicles. These operations proved that the defendants readily accepted large amounts of money thought to be drug proceeds and skimmed cash from down payments by manipulating records to show lower sales prices and reduced amounts of down payments.
The indictment also charges several violations of The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), which requires that businesses, including motor vehicle dealerships, take a number of precautions against financial crimes. One such precaution is filing and reporting certain data indicative of money laundering, including cash transactions over $10,000 on a Form 8300. The indictment charges five counts of failure to file a Form 8300 and three counts of filing a false Form 8300.
Additionally, the indictment charges that Michael Boyter evaded taxes for the years of 2007 through 2010 by filing false information on his tax documents. Michael Boyter intentionally understated his income on his personal tax returns, while paying for personal items and services, including an extensive house remodel, with business checks and/or cash.
In his plea agreement, Michael Boyter agreed to pay $290,381 to the IRS.
The defendants also agreed to forfeit the property of Mike's Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance as well as a money judgment in the amount of $1.3 million.
William Paul Boyter faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for the conspiracy to launder monetary instruments charge. Michael Paul Boyter also faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for wire fraud and faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for the evade or defeat tax charges.
Riley faces up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release for the failure to file Form 8300 charges. A sentencing date of Jan. 29, 2014 was set.
This prosecution is the culmination of an investigation dubbed Operation NOMAS and conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint multi-agency group consisting of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with a cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking. Investigations of businesses that assist drug dealers in spending and hiding their criminal proceeds is an important part of the OCDETF mission.
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