Luxury car dealership raided in money laundering investigationPosted: Updated:
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- According to an affidavit, the owners of the Luxor Auto Group are accused of conspiracy, money laundering and accepting what they believed was hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal drug money.
Federal authorities were hauling off expensive luxury cars from the Scottsdale dealership, located on Scottsdale Road south of Osborn Road, on Thursday while the owners sat shackled before a judge.
Hamid Salari, the president of Luxor Auto Group and his brother Saeid Salari, secretary and treasurer are accused of taking what they thought was dirty drug money and laundering it.
The affidavit said a federal agent who was posing as an Ecstasy dealer went to the dealership looking to buy a car with cash without a paper trail to track the money. Investigators said Saeid Salari agreed to the transaction and sold the undercover agent an $80,000 car.
The undercover agent returned to the dealership on Thursday to buy two cars worth $200,000. Authorities claim the Salaris agreed to put the cars in the name of the undercover agent's girlfriend to hide the money.
That is when the Salari brothers were arrested.
A third man was also in court on Thursday. Frank Isaac, the owner of Isaac Jewelers, is accused of doing the same thing -- selling a watch for more than $18,000 to a person he thought was a drug dealer and told him he sells to cash customers without filing the paperwork all the time.
Federal authorities said they caught Isaac on Thursday selling more jewelry for more than $38,000 in dirty money.
Isaac Jewelers got caught up in the investigation because the business has a display case inside the Luxor car dealership. The agent asked the Salaris to put him in touch with Isaac.