Secret Service Eyes Kenosha Couple & Oneida Tribe Members In Money Laundering Car Scam

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

In addition to the export scheme, the Secret Service is looking into allegations that Peng and his associates used stolen identities to purchase cars and that they hired about two dozen Native Americans to help them evade state sales tax on some of the car purchases, court records show. …

Investigators believe that Peng put together a network of more than 100 straw buyers including at least 20 Native Americans, who were used in an attempt to avoid paying state sales tax of between 5% and 5.6% on the vehicle purchases.

Investigators believe Peng began using straw buyers in 2011.

The Secret Service affidavit notes that agents and the Oneida police interviewed numerous tribal members, including one identified as “cooperating co-conspirator J.K.”

According to J.K, “Peng specifically recruited Native Americans and caused J.K to recruit Native Americans to serve as straw buyers as part of the scheme so that Peng could evade payment of sales taxes,” Ferris wrote in the affidavit.

Investigators believe about 20% of the straw purchases were made by tribal members, a figure which — if correct — would translate to nearly $500,000 in lost sales tax revenue.

A spokeswoman for the tribe declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Investigators also believe that Peng and his associates used the personal and financial information of some straw buyers to buy luxury cars in their names even after the straw buyers stopped working for Peng — actions that, if true, could constitute identity theft.

A tribal member identified in the affidavit as O.A. told authorities that Peng bought several cars from dealers across the nation in his name without his knowledge.

“Specifically, O.A. learned that, while O.A. was confined in jail, a vehicle had been purchased in O.A.’s name, without O.A’s consent, in Michigan,” Ferris wrote in the affidavit.

 


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