Owners/Operators of Two Shreveport Businesses Sentenced on Money Laundering, Wire Fraud, and Tax Evasion Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 18, 2014|
SHREVEPORT, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Michael Paul Boyter, 51, and Anthony Reuben Riley, 49, both of Shreveport, were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote on charges arising from a money laundering conspiracy operated from their businesses: Mike’s Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance Company.
Boyter was sentenced to 60 months in prison for wire fraud and for evading or defeating tax 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. They also received three years of supervised release. As part of their plea agreements with the United States, both men agreed to forfeit property of Mike’s Auto Sales and A-1 Auto Finance and agreed to pay a money judgment in the amount of $1.3 million.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea on August 26, 2013, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering beginning in 1996 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 proceeds from drug dealers, allowed vehicle purchases in the names of nominees, and falsified records of payments received. The defendants 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 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 that 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. Boyter pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud because he made false statements to law enforcement regarding the true customer, purchase price, and balance due on a vehicle he was told had been seized in a narcotics arrest.
“I hope this sends a message that the facilitation of criminal activity has consequences,” Finley stated. “The defendants sold vehicles to criminals that they knew were drug dealers and used the money to enrich themselves. They were not concerned about the harm the drug dealers caused, nor were they concerned about the laws they were breaking. Their primary focus was on hiding the proceeds and lying about their tax status so they would not have to report the illegally obtained funds. I want to thank all of the federal, state,, and local law enforcement agencies who participated in this investigation. Their efforts were outstanding and show what can be done to root out crime when we collectively bring to bear our law enforcement talent. My office will continue to vigorously prosecute those who do business with criminal elements in order to make quick profits.”
This 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 a jointly conducted investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northwest Louisiana Violent Crimes Task Force, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, Shreveport Police Department, Caddo 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. The Harrison County Sheriff’s Office in Marshall, Texas, also assisted. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Allison D. Bushnell and Cytheria D. Jernigan and Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard A. Willis prosecuted the case.