The three owners of Mike's Auto Sales, Inc., and A-1 Finance Co. Monday pleaded guilty to a plethora of federal charges, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley.
William Paul Boyter, 76, Michael Paul Boyter, 51 and Anthony Reuben Riley, 49, all of Shreveport, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote, to charges of conspiracy, money laundering, tax evasion, failure to comply with federal banking regulations and wire fraud.
Also charged in the case were the two businesses operated by the defendants.
According to evidence presented in the 19-count superseding indictment filed on Sept. 19, 2012, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering beginning in 1996 and running through November 2010. The defendants' scheme revolved around 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 proceeds from drug dealers, allowed vehicle purchases in the names of nominees and falsified records of payments received.
In addition, the defendants provided false information to 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 in 2010, the FBI conducted multiple "sting" operations directing cooperating individuals to purchase vehicles in the names of nominees and using large cash payments toward the purchase of those vehicles. These operations proved the defendants readily 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.
The trio also were charged with several violations of The Bank Secrecy Act. In addition, Michael Boyter evaded taxes for the years of 2007-2010 by filing false information on his tax documents. In his plea agreement, Boyter agreed to pay more than $291,000 to the IRS.
"The defendants have admitted to their involvement in assisting drug traffickers in their illegal activities that took place at Mike's Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance," Finley stated. "They sold vehicles to drug dealers and used the money to enrich themselves. They further broke the law by
attempting to hide the proceeds of the illegally obtained wealth by lying on tax forms and not reporting income. We thank all of the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies who participated in this investigation. My office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who do business with criminal elements in order to make quick profit."
"This is an important victory for the American public," said Gabriel Grehan, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. "Michael Boyter, William Boyter and Anthony Riley have taken responsibility for their roles in these crimes with the entering of their guilty pleas. It is important
to note that not only are the Boyters and Mr. Riley going to be sentenced for their crimes, but the government has seized a significant portion of the illegal proceeds through asset forfeiture. The role of IRS CI in money laundering investigations is to follow the money so we can financially disrupt and dismantle these types of criminal enterprises. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to provide its financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice."
The defendants also agreed to forfeit the property of Mike's Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance as well as a money judgment in the amount of $1.3 million.
The Boyters face up to 20 years in prison, as well as fines; Riley faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A sentencing date of Jan. 29, 2014 was set.
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