Used car dealers plead guilty to structuring, laundering conspiracy

Three used-car dealers in Memphis, Tennessee, have pleaded guilty in a money-laundering scheme involving sales to drug traffickers in which they filed misleading sales forms and titled cars in the names of other people.

Wayne David McAlpin Jr., 50, pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of money laundering and one count of filing fraudulent documents with the IRS. James Austin, 61, and Brian Bowman, 46, of Lakeland each pleaded guilty to one count of filing fraudulent documents with the IRS.

McAlpin and Bowman also agreed to forfeit almost $12 million in bank accounts, investment accounts and vehicles, including a 2008 Bentley Continental GTC, a 2011 Audi A8, a 2009 Cadillac Escalade and a 2011 Lexus GX460.

McAlpin was president of Budget Auto Sales and Austin was a salesman there. Bowman was president of Pyramid Used Car Sales.

Federal authorities said the defendants sold numerous vehicles to customers they knew to be involved in illegal drug trafficking and other crimes.

The car dealers then structured sales payments so that all transactions fell below the $10,000 reporting limit with the IRS.

They will be sentenced in October by U.S. Dist. Judge Jon McCalla.

The case was part of the Department of Justice Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program, which targets major organizations involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

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Copyright 2013 - The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.

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