Indictment Charges R.I. Businessman with Smuggling Vehicles from the United States to Lebanon
PROVIDENCE – A Rhode Island man who owns and operates, among other businesses, an auto sales and salvage company was arraigned today in U.S. District Court in Providence on charges he allegedly filed false export information with the United States Department of Commerce and smuggled nineteen vehicles from the United States to Lebanon.
It is alleged in an indictment unsealed today that in February and March 2016, Carlo Fakhri, 50, of Fall River, MA, a naturalized United States citizen born in Lebanon, smuggled fifteen pick-up trucks, a passenger vehicle, two Suburbans, and a Range Rover to Lebanon without supplying complete and correct information to the Commerce Department as required by law, including the correct name, address, identification number, and contact information for the purchaser and receiver of each vehicle.
It is alleged in the indictment that Fakhri failed to follow Foreign Trade Regulations that mandate that all persons engaged in the export of commodities file accurate information with the United States government regarding the exports via the government’s Automated Export System (AES). Foreign Trade Regulations, authorized by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, strengthen the U.S government’s ability to prevent the export of certain items, including motor vehicles, to unauthorized destinations and/or end users. The AES aids in targeting and identifying suspicious or illegal shipments prior to exportation.
Carlo Fakhri, who operates, among other businesses, D’Agostinos Auto Sales and Salvage, Inc., in North Providence, R.I., was arraigned today on charges of submission of false export information and smuggling, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta, and Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement Boston Field Office William Higgins.
A federal indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted as charged in the indictment, Carlo Fakhri faces statutory penalties of up to 15 years in federal prison, 3 years supervised release, and a fine of up to $360,000.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul F. Daly, Jr.