Two Shreveport businesses have been ordered to pay $850,000 in fines and forfeit $1.3-million in illegal proceeds.

Mike's Auto Sales has been fined $500,000 and A-1 Auto Finance Company, fined $350,000. The businesses were also given five years of probation. The two businesses, represented by company president Michael Boyter of Shreveport each entered guilty pleas August 26th to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

According to evidence presented at the guilty pleas, the owners and operators engaged in a conspiracy to commit money laundering beginning in 1996 through November 2010. The 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 operators of the businesses knowingly accepted cash proceeds from drug dealers, allowed vehicle purchases in the names of nominees, and falsified records of payments received. They 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.

In connection with these activities, Boyter pled guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. He was sentenced February 18th to 60 months in prison for wire fraud and tax charges. He was also ordered to pay more than $290,000 in restitution and a $200,000 fine.

Company secretary and treasurer Anthony Reuben Riley of Shreveport was also sentenced on February 18th to 15 months in prison for the failure to file Form 8300 and was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.