U.S. Department of Justice
Peter F. Neronha
United States Attorney
District of Rhode Island
January 23, 2012
Providence used-car dealer sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for money laundering
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Domingo A. Lopez, 51, of Providence, president of Espaillat Motors Inc., was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Providence to 18 months in federal prison for money laundering in connection with the cash sale of used vehicles to an individual purporting that they would be used for drug trafficking and agreeing to report the sale price of the vehicles for less than the actual sale price in order to avoid detection.
Lopez’s sentence, which was imposed by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Mary M. Lisi, was announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Kevin Lane, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the New England field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
According to information presented to the court, between April and November 2010, Lopez sold two vehicles for cash and took cash deposits on two others from a person who represented himself to be a drug dealer and who stated that the vehicles were to be used for drug trafficking. Lopez listed each vehicle’s purchase price as being under $10,000 so as to avoid reporting requirements, when in fact more than $10,000 in cash was paid for each vehicle. Lopez also disguised or concealed the true identity of the buyer on paperwork associated with the sale of each vehicle.
Lopez, a Dominican national, faces deportation proceedings following completion of his term of imprisonment. He has been detained since his arrest on November 9, 2010. Lopez pled guilty in October 2011.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Milind M. Shah and Sandra R. Hebert.
The matter was investigated by the Providence DEA Drug task Force, with assistance from the United States Marshals Service, IRS, ICE-HSI, Rhode Island State Police and Providence Police.