Car Dealership Owner Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering Of Drug Trafficking And Tax Fraud Proceeds
Tampa, FL – Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Samih Abdel Rahman (51, Tampa) today pleaded guilty for his involvement in a money laundering conspiracy. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Rahman was charged in a superseding indictment on March 14, 2013.
According to the plea agreement, Rahman is the owner/operator of Sam & Sons Auto Sales, Inc. (“Sam & Sons”), a used car dealership, located in Tampa. For a period of years, until about March 2013, Rahman, assisted by others, sold vehicles to customers who paid with cash from narcotics trafficking and/or fraudulently-obtained income tax refund fraud (“SIRF”) checks. Knowing that those payments were the results of illegal activity, Rahman laundered the money by conducting the car sales in a manner that concealed the illicit sources of the money. For instance, he titled the sold vehicles in the names of "straw purchasers" – persons other than the actual buyers and intended users of the vehicles. Rahman also disguised the identities of the true buyers by creating and processing false paperwork for the car sales, including fake Bills of Sale and payment receipts. Upon receiving cash payments of more than $10,000, Rahman further laundered the money by structuring the bank deposits in a way that avoided triggering bank reporting requirements. He also failed to report those transactions, as required under federal law, by a car dealership receiving specific amounts of cash during the sales of vehicles.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson.