Idaho Falls Man Sentenced for Money Laundering
BOISE – The former finance manager of West Coast Car Company, Joseph Monte Johnson, 46, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, announced U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill sentenced Johnson to 40 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered him to pay $6,000. Johnson pled guilty to the charge on August 25, 2011.
According to the plea agreement, in 2008, West Coast Car Company was a used car dealership with two locations in Boise. Prior to that, West Coast Car Company had done business under the name Auto Mall Outlet. The company bought used vehicles, including used vehicles from outside Idaho, for resale in Idaho.
According to the plea agreement, Johnson was employed at West Coast Car Company as the finance manager. Johnson admitted that in July 2008, while working for West Coast Car Company, he and others agreed to sell to two individuals, believed to be Miami drug dealers, a Jeep Cherokee and Mercedes for $55,000 in cash. The men agreed not to use the buyers' real names on any sales forms, and agreed not to file IRS Form 8300, a transaction report form for cash transactions in excess of $10,000. The IRS requires the trade or business to file the form within 15 days of the cash transaction and verify the buyer's identity. According to the plea agreement, the buyers returned to West Coast Car Company in January 2009 to do a second deal. Johnson assured the buyers they could do the deal the same way as before – West Coast Car Company would accept cash for the cars and would not use the buyers' true names on any forms or file the required IRS currency transaction report.
Johnson, Michael J. McCormick, 48, of California, and Kurt Bates, 44, of Detroit, Michigan, were charged in a three-count indictment in May 2011. A jury trial for McCormick and Bates is set for April 9, 2012.
The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.
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