County car dealership guilty of financial crime

Associated Press

SEATTLE — A used car company has agreed to forfeit $1.5 million and pay a $250,000 fine over the way it handled cash transactions.

Zein Automobiles pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Wednesday to a charge of failing to file a monetary transaction report.

Drug Enforcement Administration agents said the company, which runs Independence Auto Sales and Best Bet Auto Sales in Lynnwood and Everett, intentionally failed to report cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the IRS. They alleged that allowed drug traffickers to launder their profits by buying cars.

Agents raided the dealerships last month.

Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a written statement the case should serve as a warning to other businesses. As part of the plea deal, Zein is entering into a corporate integrity plan to ensure similar violations don’t happen again.

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