Jewelry Store Owner Pleads Guilty to Evading Cash Reporting Rule
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Undercover Agent Posed as Heroin Dealer Using Costly Jewelry to Launder Cash
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The owner of two jewelry stores in the Independence Center mall in Independence, Mo., pleaded guilty in federal court today to evading federal reporting requirements for cash transactions.
Junaid “Jay” Sahibzada, 37, of Lenexa, Kan., waived his right to an indictment and pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to a federal information that charges him with one count of evading federal reporting requirements for businesses that conduct cash transactions above $10,000 by failing to file Form 8300.
Form 8300 provides valuable information to the Internal Revenue Service and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in their efforts to combat money laundering.
Sahibzada co-owns Gold-N-Time, a kiosk shop, and Jawa Jewelers, a storefront, both located in the Independence Center mall.
By pleading guilty today, Sahibzada admitted that he met with an undercover federal agent posing as a heroin dealer interested in laundering money by making cash purchases of jewelry from Gold-N-Time, transporting the jewelry to Chicago, Illinois, and then reselling it for cash. The undercover agent told Sahibzada he did not want any government forms filed for his purchases, which Sahibzada said would not be a problem because no one would know about cash purchases.
The undercover agent purchased two pieces of custom jewelry from Sahibzada for $21,100. Sahibzada did not subsequently file or instruct any employee to file a Form 8300 for the cash transaction.
Sahibzada later admitted to federal agents that he had never filed a Form 8300, despite having completed multiple jewelry cash transactions exceeding $10,000.
Under federal statutes, Sahibzada is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office. Under the terms of today’s plea agreement, Sahibzada must pay a money judgment of $21,100, which is the total amount involved in the undercover operation.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Constance and Tony Brown. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.
Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/OCDETF.
Updated August 4, 2023