West Bloomfield Resident Sentenced on Charges of Preparing a False Tax Return After Hiding Assets for Narcotics Trafficker
SEP 28 -- Robert Traylor, 30, of West Bloomfield, a former NBA basketball player, was sentenced today to three months in a half-way house followed by three months home confinement as special conditions of a three-year probationary sentence as a result of his pleading guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return, announced United States Attorney Stephen J. Murphy.
Mr. Murphy was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Maurice Aouate, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso, United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Traylor was sentenced today in U.S. District Court by Judge Avern Cohn, who also ordered Traylor to file corrected tax returns and cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service.
According to court records, Traylor's name was used to make it appear that he had purchased two rental properties in Detroit, Michigan, when, in fact, the purchases had been funded and the properties owned by Quasand Lewis. Lewis has recently been sentenced in federal court on charges of narcotics trafficking and money laundering. At the time of the plea, Traylor admitted the properties for which he claimed deductions were titled in his name to conceal Quasand Lewis' ownership of them from law enforcement. Traylor also admitted that on his 2004 federal income tax return, he claimed a loss of over $205,000 from the rental properties, which he knew to be false.
In December 2006, Lewis was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for his role in illegal drug trafficking after admitting that he organized the distribution of more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana in the Detroit metro area. Traylor is the third defendant to plead guilty to concealing assets for Lewis and the conspiracy in which he was involved. In January 2006, Raheel "Ray" Shiekh, a Hamtramck businessman, pleaded guilty to converting over $1.2 million in cashiers checks for the purchase of properties in nominee names in Detroit federal court. Then on March 9, 2007, Will Franklin Ulmer, a Detroit business man, plead guilty to assisting Lewis and the conspirators in laundering drug proceeds. Both Shiekh and Ulmer are awaiting sentencing.
United States Attorney Murphy stated, "As I have said many times, we take the enforcement of federal criminal tax laws very seriously. Anyone who assists others to disguise the true nature of their income and deductions, denies the government the very tax dollars it needs to effectuate its various functions and many important programs. Anyone who would defraud the IRS by causing income tax forms to be filed that are false can expect to be greeted with federal prosecution and an appropriate penalty to possibly include jail time."
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Aouate stated, "Hiding money from law enforcement is as much a priority to drug dealers as hiding their illegal narcotics. IRS Criminal Investigation's unique role is to follow this money trial and, in partnership with DEA and other law enforcement agencies, identify all the guilty parties, shutting them down for good."
Special Agent in Charge Corso stated, "the sentencing of Mr. Traylor should make clear that the DEA and our law enforcement partners are working from all angles to dismantle organizations that traffic in illegal drugs. Identifying and arresting individuals who launder illegal drug proceeds is an integral part of our mission to shut down these organizations."
United States Attorney Murphy thanked all the federal law enforcement partners who played a role in the investigation leading up to the sentencing of defendant Traylor and he paid special thanks to Assistant United States Attorney Janice V. Terbush, who prosecuted the case.