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3 Arrested in Dealership Embezzlement Scheme

January 16, 2018 0 Comments

The FBI has arrested three people in relation to a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme involving three Marin County, California, car dealerships, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The dealerships involved are  Sonnen Volkswagen, Audi Marin, and Porsche Marin.

Amir Bakhtiari, 50, of Newport Beach, California, was manager at two of the dealerships involved. He allegedly orchestrated the scheme involving payments by Sonnen Motorcars on “fraudulent invoices to fake advertising vendors.”

Arlette Casino, 47, of Santa Rosa, California, and Austin Caba, 38, of Burlingame, California, both allegedly participated in the embezzlement scheme since at least 2013, according to the indictment. Casino was the controller of Sonnen between 2013 and 2016. Caba controlled one of the fake advertising vendors.

The vendors forwarded the proceeds from the dealership payments back to Bakhtiari, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The indictment alleges that Bakhtiari “caused people to create fake ad businesses” allegedly controlled by his friends and associates.

Bakhtiari allegedly directed $6.3 million in fraudulent transfers between 2010 and 2016. He allegedly received $3.6 million in checks written by fake vendors.

All three defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. Bakhtiari and Caba are additionally charged with conspiracy to engage in money transactions in property derived from unlawful activity.

The maximum penalty for each charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Bakhtiari, Casino, and Caba were arrested by the FBI on Friday in California.

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