Background

The Department of Justice reports that a Wisconsin man has been ordered to pay $517.265.72 in restitution and sentenced to 27 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to three federal felony offenses in connection with exports of luxury vehicles to China. The man also agreed to the civil forfeiture of approximately $1.2 million in funds seized from various bank accounts he controlled as well as 29 new luxury vehicles.

According to a DOJ press release, the man and his company fraudulently used Native American straw buyers to purchase luxury vehicles in a tax-exempt manner, thereby evading approximately $515,964.04 in state and local sales taxes that the company was legally obligated to pay. The man and his company also conspired to cause the luxury vehicles to be purchased for export via identity theft; i.e., by using means of identification that belonged to a past or prospective straw buyer without that person’s permission to purchase the vehicle using his or her identity. Finally, the man and his company conspired with others to use the Automated Export System to further these illegal activities in violation of 13 USC 305(a)(2).

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