SAN FRANCISCO — Amir Bakhtiari, the former general manager of Sonnen Motorcars’ Audi and Volkswagen dealerships in Marin County, Calif., has been ordered to serve 4½ years in federal prison and pay restitution totaling more than $8 million to Sonnen and the IRS after reaching a plea deal this week.
Prosecutors charged Bakhtiari with embezzling $6.6 million from the dealerships, where he worked from 2009 to 2016. They say he admitted to submitting phantom invoices for nonexistent advertising, a scheme that allegedly involved at least two accomplices, and paying himself several unearned bonuses.
Prosecutors called Bakhtiari “a classic white-collar criminal — an industry professional who took advantage of the trust others put in him.”
The son of a former Iranian prime minister and a U.S. resident since 1991, Bakhtiari was arrested and indicted in January of last year. He remains a citizen of Iran and could be deported once released.
Also charged were Austin Caba, who awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to wire fraud in June, and Arlette Casino, the dealer group’s former controller, for whom no agreement has been announced.
In a brief filed with the U.S. Court for the Northern District of California, prosecutors said Bakhtiari spent the embezzled funds on a beach house, travel, gambling, and jewelry, describing him as “a classic white-collar criminal — an industry professional who took advantage of the trust others put in him.”
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Originally posted on Auto Dealer Today
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