A 39-year-old Baltimore car dealership owner was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander in connection with financial transactions that appeared to be structured to avoid federal bank reporting requirements.
Amefika Gray, owner of Network Auto Group, a car dealership operating at 2631 Gwynns Falls Parkway in Baltimore, pleaded guilty in July to depositing more than $2 million in amounts of $10,000 or less —sometimes multiple deposits in the same day- to avoid federal requirements that large cash transactions be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.
The amount of the structured deposits over a 15-month period totaled $2,017,205.23. According to prosecutors the cash Gray deposited in structured amounts was the proceeds of drug trafficking activity.
Hollander directed Gray to forfeit $800,000, a Mercedes Benz vehicle and three residential properties in Baltimore in addition to the prison sentence, followed by two years of supervised release, for practices that prosecutors said were designed to skirt required reporting of transactions of $10,000 or greater.
“Federal law requires large currency transactions to be reported in order to deter money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Businesses that break up their cash deposits to avoid currency reporting requirements face federal criminal prosecution.”
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Kelly of the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, Washington, D.C. Field Office; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.