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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 23, 2017

Three High-Level Members Of The Mustafa Family Crime Organization Sentenced To Federal Prison

Acting United States Attorney Gregory G. Brooker today announced the sentencing of three members of the Mustafa family crime organization for their roles in a multi-million dollar conspiracy to traffic stolen cellular phones and other electronic devices. KANAN T. MUSTAFA, 40, JAMAL MUSTAFA, 45, and NIZAR MOHAMAD MUSTAFA, 26, were sentenced this week before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minn.

 

“These three brothers were high-level members of the Mustafa Organization,” said Acting United States Attorney Gregory Brooker. “The Twin Cities was the hub for their criminal operations, but the organization trafficked in millions of dollars in stolen cell phones and electronics across the nation and overseas. The strategic cooperation and collaborative work of our law enforcement partners, has dismantled this crime ring, and these three defendants, among other co-defendants, will serve lengthy prison sentences.”

 

“Not only did these individuals commit crimes related to the purchase and sale of stolen cellular telephones, they also committed several tax fraud crimes, such as failure to file tax returns, preparation of false W-2s, and filing of false claims for tax refunds. This investigation was truly a coordinated effort by several members of law enforcement and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this criminal organization down,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge Hubbard Burgess of the IRS Criminal Investigation, St. Paul Field Office.

 

"This case is about more than cell phones being stolen. It is about a complex crime ring stealing identities and people's good names for criminal gain,” said Saint Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell. “The collaborative work that went into investigating, indicting and bringing these individuals to justice is impressive and will likely prevent much more crime in the future, which will protect others from becoming victims.”

 

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, from at least 2006 through 2014, KANAN, JAMAL, NIZAR, and other members of the Mustafa family and their associates used stolen identity information and other criminal means to obtain at least $20 million of cellular telephones and other mobile devices for the purpose of trafficking them throughout the United States and overseas. KANAN, JAMAL, NIZAR, and three other Mustafa brothers owned and operated 13 mobile device stores in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, which were used to buy illegally obtained mobile devices. Members of the Mustafa Organization paid runners to steal mobile devices or obtain them fraudulently using stolen identification documents. They re-sold the stolen phones and tablets for substantial profits that were then distributed among themselves and used to pay for rent, utilities, payroll and other expenses to keep their stores in business and promote the criminal activity.

 

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, KANAN, JAMAL, NIZAR, and other members of the Mustafa Organization falsified loan applications and provided false documentation to get loans for vehicles that they used to transport stolen devices and the proceeds of their criminal activity. KANAN, JAMAL, NIZAR, and other members of the Mustafa Organization also made fraudulent credit card transactions to steal from credit card processing companies and used the proceeds to buy more cell phones, to pay operating expenses for the wireless stores, and to fund their personal expenses.

 

According to the defendants’ guilty pleas and documents filed in court, from at least 2010 through 2014, KANAN, JAMAL, NIZAR, and other members of the Mustafa Organization also conspired to defraud the IRS through numerous fraud schemes. For example, the defendants regularly paid themselves in cash, failed to file tax returns, filed false claims for tax refunds, failed to maintain financial business records, and prepared false W-2s or did not prepare W-2s at all.

 

To date, all 21 members of the conspiracy have entered guilty pleas before Chief Judge John R. Tunheim. Twenty of the 21 defendants have been sentenced.

 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Schommer and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Schleicher prosecuted this case.

 

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the St. Paul Police Department, United States Secret Service, University of Minnesota Police Department, Minnesota Department of Public Safety and Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force, United States Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Edina Police Department, Minneapolis Police Department, Plymouth Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Marshal’s Service.

 

 

Defendant Information:

 

KANAN T. MUSTAFA a/k/a “Kenny,” 40

Rosemount, MN

 

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to Engage in Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the Government With Respect to Claims, 1 count

 

Sentenced:

  • 130 months in prison

  • Three years of supervised release

  • $1,015,901.33 in restitution

 

 

JAMAL TALAL MUSTAFA, a/k/a “Jimmy,” 43

Apple Valley, Minn.

 

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to Engage in Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the Government With Respect to Claims, 1 count

 

Sentenced:

  • 87 months in prison

  • Three years of supervised release

  • $1,015,901.33 in restitution, $11,482.00 to the IRS

 

 

NIZER M MUSTAFA, a/k/a “Shaggy,” a/k/a “Mike,” 29

Savage, Minn.

 

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to Engage in Interstate Transportation of Stolen Goods, 1 count
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the Government With Respect to Claims, 1 count

 

Sentenced:

  • 87 months in prison

  • Three years of supervised release

  • $1,015,901.33 in restitution, $32,323.00 to the IRS

     

     

     

     

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    United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

     

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Updated June 23, 2017