U.S. Attorney’s Office presents more than $1 million in proceeds from money laundering case to law enforcement agencies
Feds Secure $2.1 Million in U.S. Currency from Mike’s Auto Sales Case
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI and the IRS presented $800,126 to state and local law enforcement agencies upon completing a forfeiture action involving money laundered through a local car dealership.
At the conclusion of a money laundering prosecution of the owners and operators of Mike’s Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance Company, the United States forfeited assets totaling $2,194,270. Of this amount $1,253,783 was allocated for disbursement to law enforcement agencies who participated in the investigation. The Louisiana State Police, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, Shreveport Police Department and the Bossier City Police Department each received approximately $174,170. The Internal Revenue Service received $208,765. The forfeited funds came from the sale of assets of Mike’s Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance Company. The companies obtained these assets by facilitating the acquisition of cars and laundering money for drug dealers.
Michael Paul Boyter, 54, and Anthony Reuben Riley, 53, both of Shreveport, were two of the owners and operators of Mike’s Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance Company. They were sentenced on February 18, 2014 by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, on charges arising out of a money laundering conspiracy operated from the businesses. Boyter was sentenced to 60 months in prison for wire fraud and tax evasion charges. He was also ordered to pay $290,381 restitution and a $200,000 fine. Riley was sentenced to 15 months in prison for the failure to file Form 8300 charges and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. As part of their plea agreements with the United States, both men also agreed to forfeit property of Mike’s Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance, and to pay a money judgment of $1.3 million.
Since the sentencings, the properties where the businesses were housed were sold and funds in bank and brokerage accounts were seized. According to evidence presented at the guilty pleas, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering beginning in 1996 and continuing through November 2010. The defendants’ scheme concerned the sale and financing of used and new vehicles to individuals who derived, or represented that they derived, significant income from the distribution of illegal drugs. The defendants knowingly accepted cash from drug dealers, allowed vehicle purchases in the names of nominees, and falsified records of payments received. The defendants also provided false information to multiple local and federal law enforcement agencies, including the Shreveport Police Department and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, to facilitate the release of vehicles seized from drug dealers.
In 2009 and 2010, the FBI conducted multiple “sting” operations using cooperating individuals to purchase vehicles from Mikes Auto Sales. During the undercover operations, Boyter, Riley, and others accepted large cash payments toward the purchase of vehicles, registered the vehicles in the name of nominees, and failed to report cash received in excess of $10,000 as required by federal law. These operations proved that the defendants routinely accepted large amounts of money thought to be drug proceeds and skimmed cash from down payments by manipulating records to show lower sales prices and reduced amounts of down payments.
“This case serves as an example of what can happen when law enforcement agencies work together,” Finley said. “The defendants in this case shamelessly facilitated drug trafficking by allowing drug dealers to launder their money and obtain vehicles that they otherwise would have been unable to purchase without detection by law enforcement. The dismantling of this criminal enterprise led to the sale of its assets and the funds being distributed today. This money will allow these law enforcement agencies to further provide needed services to our community.”
The case is part of an investigation called Operation NOMAS conducted by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). OCDETF is a joint multi-agency group consisting of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with a cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking.
Operation NOMAS was investigated by the FBI’s Northwest Louisiana Violent Crimes Task Force, IRS-Criminal Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Marshals Service, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Shreveport Police Department, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bossier City Police Department, Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard Counter-Drug Task Force and the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Tri-Parish Drug Task Force. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office in Marshall, Texas, also assisted. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison D. Bushnell, Cytheria D. Jernigan and Richard A. Willis prosecuted this case.