Alleged Business Scammers Indicted After Nationwide Scheme to Defraud Investors, Including Elderly, of More than $30M
SALT LAKE CITY – Nan Ma, 39, of Washington, Utah, was sentenced by a U.S. District Court Judge in St. George, Utah, to serve 33 months in federal prison for failing to file financial reports with the United States Treasury after bringing currency in excess of $10,000 back into the United States from China. Ma was also ordered to pay $2,563,337 million dollars in restitution to Sound Vision Technology (“SVT”), which is a high-end audio business in Hurricane, Utah, and ordered to pay $777,879 dollars in restitution to the IRS for outstanding federal tax obligations.
Ma was accused by federal prosecutors of using his position and authority as the officer in charge of production at SVT to solicit and obtain kickbacks for his personal benefit from Chinese companies. In exchange for the kickbacks, Ma was alleged to have awarded lucrative contracts to these companies to manufacture and sell products to his employer. Over the course of his scheme, Ma caused SVT to overpay for its products by approximately $2,563,337.09.
Ma, who is a Chinese citizen with legal permanent resident status in the U.S., took this money for himself and purchased a series of larger and larger homes, expensive vehicles, and townhomes in the St. George area. He also had significant amounts of cash tucked away in various bank accounts. These assets have been forfeited and it is anticipated that the proceeds from the forfeiture will be applied to pay restitution to SVT.
Ma concealed the source of the funds he was getting through the alleged kickbacks by making false representations to his employer about the origin of his new-found wealth.
In the plea agreement, Ma agreed to forfeit any ill-gotten gains, and admitted that in September of 2019, he travelled to China and obtained Chinese Yuen currency worth $47,934 in U.S. Dollars and that he brought this money from China into the United States without filing a report with the United States Treasury. In so doing, Ma violated a federal law requiring that anyone who brings more than $10,000 of foreign currency into the U.S. to file a report with the U.S. Treasury.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tyler Murray from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah prosecuted the case. Special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.