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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Owner Of Car Dealership Sentenced To More Than 17 Years For Laundering Over $3 Million

Tampa, FL – U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington yesterday sentenced Samih Abdel Rahman (51, Tampa) to 17 years and 6 months in federal prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to launder approximately $3,335,898 of proceeds from stolen identity refund fraud and drug trafficking. 

Rahman pleaded guilty on January 24, 2014.

According to court documents and other evidence, Rahman was the owner and operator of Sam & Sons Auto Sales, Inc., a used car dealership located in Tampa. For a period of years, beginning no later than 2008, until March 2013, Rahman, who was assisted by others, sold vehicles to customers who paid with proceeds from stolen identity income-tax refund fraud and narcotics trafficking. Knowing that the payments were derived from ill-gotten gains, Rahman laundered the money in a manner that concealed its illicit sources. An estimate of the total amount of money laundered by Rahman is $3,335,898.

Among other ways, Rahman laundered these monies by putting the title of vehicles sold at Sam & Sons in the names of "straw purchasers" – that is, someone other than the actual buyer and intended user of that vehicle.  Rahman also disguised the criminal identities of the true buyers of the cars by creating and processing false paperwork for the sales, including fake bills of sales and payment receipts. When receiving cash payments of more than $10,000 of illicit proceeds, Rahman would further launder the money by structuring cash deposits.  He structured the deposits in a way that avoided triggering reporting requirements by the bank. He also failed to report those transactions appropriately, as was required under federal law for a car dealership receiving that amount of cash during the sale of a vehicle. 

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Jackson.

Updated January 26, 2015