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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Owner Of Mussari Motors, Inc. Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Evade Reporting Requirements After Receiving $719,000 In Cash From Drug Trafficker

SAN DIEGO – John Frank Mussari Jr, owner of Mussari Motors Inc., a luxury car dealership in San Diego, admitted in federal court today that he conspired with a drug trafficker to evade laws requiring disclosure of cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

According to his plea agreement, Mussari admitted that he failed to report receiving $719,000 in cash from the drug trafficker, who purchased several high-end vehicles including a Ferrari and Porsche during a four-month period.

Under federal law, each person engaged in an automobile dealership, who in the course of that business, receives more than $10,000 in cash in one transaction or in two or more related transactions, must file “Report of Cash Payments Over $10,000 in Trade or Business” with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) within 15 days. Mussari admitted that he and the trafficker, who was identified in the plea agreement only as J.B., intentionally and willfully conspired with each other to avoid filing any of the required forms.

Drug traffickers often use this method to launder drug proceeds.

During his guilty plea today, Mussari admitted that he received $132,000 in cash for a Ferrari, $115,000 in cash for a Lamborghini, $147,000 in cash for a Porsche, and $205,000 for another Lamborghini. Mussari also admitted that he received $80,000, $60,000, and $31,000 in cash from the drug trafficker.

According to court documents, Mussari was initially detained attempting to leave in a Lamborghini at the time federal and state agents searched the residence of the drug trafficker’s home in Fallbrook, California. Agents found about $205,000 cash in Mussari’s Lamborghini. The money was forfeited to the United States.

Mussari is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel.

DEFENDANT   Case Number: 13cr4072
John Frank Mussari, Jr. Age: 48 San Diego, California

Conspiracy to Evade Reporting Requirements Received in Business
Title 18, U.S.C., Section 371
Maximum penalty: Five years in prison and $250,000 fine


Internal Revenue Service
Drug Enforcement Administration

*Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged.  All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.     

Updated July 23, 2015