Ex-sports car dealer gets prison for money laundering

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SAN DIEGO – The former owner of a sports car dealership in San Diego was sentenced Friday to two years in federal prison for helping a drug dealer launder $719,000 by accepting cash for a Ferrari, a Porsche and two Lamborghinis.

John Frank Mussari Jr., 48, former owner of Mussari Motors Inc., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade a law requiring disclosure of cash transactions exceeding $10,000, the Los Angeles Times reported.

While he knew the cash-rich buyer was a drug dealer, “he never inquired about the source of the cash,” according to the plea bargain document.

Mussari was stopped by federal agents as he left the drug trafficker’s Fallbrook home in a yellow Ferrari, according to prosecutors. Agents found he had nearly $205,000 in cash in his possession, which was forfeited to the U.S., prosecutors said.

The drug trafficker, identified as J. Bunch, has admitted his role in the money laundering scheme and been sentenced in Wisconsin, according to court documents.

As part of his guilty plea, Mussari admitted receiving $132,000 for a Ferrari 360 Spyder, $147,000 for a Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet and $320,000 for two Lamborghini Gallardos. He also admitted receiving other cash payments.

The sales took place over four months in 2008, prosecutors said.

Mussari last year pleaded guilty in San Diego County Superior Court to eight counts of defrauding customers and was ordered to pay restitution. The charges involved claims that Mussari bought luxury cars, resold them and then failed to reimburse the original owner.

Story by Tony Perry of Los Angeles Times

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