St. Louis County Man Pleads Guilty to Mail and Wire Fraud Charges
St. Louis, MO – Anas Alshurafa, 50, of St. Louis County, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud this morning before Chief Judge Rodney Sippel in St. Louis. Judge Sippel accepted Alshurafa’s plea and deferred sentencing until October 4, 2019.
According to his plea agreement, in April 2017, investigators received information that the operator of Autoway Car Sales, Anas Alshurafa, and its owner, Wasim Charfa, were fraudulently obtaining motor vehicle loans.
The investigation revealed that Alshurafa submitted fraudulent loan applications with counterfeit supporting documents and stolen identifying information to various credit issuers that operated in interstate commerce. The documents were presented to the credit issuers by mail and through interstate wires.
When an audit of the submitted documents revealed numerous inconsistencies, Alshurafa falsely claimed that an employee presented the documentation without his knowledge. To bolster his story, Alshurafa emailed the credit issuer’s representative a forged letter of admission from an individual who was not associated with his business. He also sent the credit issuer a counterfeit driver’s license bearing the identifying information of that individual, but the photograph of another person.
Despite the execution of a search warrant by state and federal investigators in May 2017, and the seizure of his vehicles by the City of Pagedale, Missouri Police Department, Alshurafa electronically transmitted a fraudulent loan application using the identifying information of a past customer in order to secure funding from one of his credit issuers. On June 7, 2017, Alshurafa used the identifying information and previously submitted loan verification documentation of J.L.G. to obtain a loan for which Autoway Car Sales received a commission of $6,878.83 for the loan financing they obtained.
A forensic examination of computers seized during the execution of a search warrant on May 31, 2017 revealed templates of counterfeit bank statements in electronic folders bearing defendant’s name.
The government estimated that the defendant’s scheme caused losses to the victims of more than $250,000 between January 1, 2016 and December 20, 2017.
Wire fraud and mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for each count and a fine of $250,000 or both. Restitution to the victims is also mandatory.
The case was investigated by the investigated by the Missouri DOR – Compliance and Investigation Bureau, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agencies were assisted by the Pagedale Police Department. Tracy Berry is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.