PHOENIX — The owners of a luxury car dealership and a jewelry store have been charged with money laundering and conspiracy after authorities said the three men offered to hide a transaction from the federal government for undercover agents.
Hamid and Saeid Salari, owners of Luxor Auto Group in Scottsdale, were charged
with money laundering and conspiracy. Farah Isaac, owner
of Isaac Jewelers, also in Scottsdale, faced the same charges.
Attorneys for the three men did not return telephone messages on Friday. They
were arrested Wednesday, and had initial court appearances on Thursday in
federal court in Phoenix. All three suspects have been released on their own
recognizance pending future hearings.
According to the criminal complaint, an undercover Internal Revenue Service
agent met with Saeid Salari on Sept. 24, 2013, and expressed interest in buying
a car without the proper paperwork being submitted on the purchase.
The agent explained to Saeid Salari “that he sells ecstasy and did not want
any forms with his name on it saying he spent over $10,000 in cash,” according
to the complaint.
“After some discussion, Saeid Salari agreed to sell a car to (the undercover
agent) with the understanding that cash obtained from drug trafficking
activities would be used for the purchase and not be reported,” authorities
A vehicle was chosen and a price of $80,000 was agreed upon. According to the
complaint, the agent later gave Saeid Salari $20,000 cash inside a Crown Royal
whiskey bag as down payment and agreed to return later with the rest of the
In December, an undercover agent returned with the remaining $60,000 cash, this
time meeting with Hamid Salari who offered assurances again that the transaction
would not be reported and acknowledged that he knew the money came from illegal
drug sales, the complaint states.
The investigation continued until another meeting with Hamid Salari on
Wednesday during which an undercover IRS agent offered to buy two more vehicles
for $200,000 cash with the paperwork being filled out in the name of the agent’s
fictitious girlfriend, according to court documents.
Hamid and Saeid Salari were then arrested.
The probe into Farah Isaac and Isaac Jewelers began after the Salaris referred
the undercover agents to the store to purchase jewelry with a similar cash
transaction, authorities said. Also on Wednesday, authorities said Isaac
agreed to sell two watches and a bracelet to an agent for $38,000 cash without
reporting the transactions as required by law. Isaac was then arrested.