Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 14, 2016
Former Owner of Virginia Beach Used Car Dealership Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Navy Federal Credit Union
NORFOLK, Va. – Andysheh Ayatollahi, 36, formerly of Virginia Beach, pleaded guilty today to charges of conspiracy to commit financial institution fraud and filing a false tax return.
According to a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, in July 2007 Ayatollahi purchased a 50 percent interest in the Car Store, a used car dealership located in Virginia Beach. From then until May 2008, when the Car Store closed, Ayatollahi conspired with others, including Car Store personnel, to defraud Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU). Ayatollahi and his co-conspirators engaged in fraudulent practices that included using individuals as straw buyers/borrowers to apply to NFCU for car loans because the actual buyers were not sufficiently creditworthy to qualify for a car loan. Ayatollahi also submitted fraudulent car loan applications to NFCU with false supporting documents; made telephone calls to NFCU impersonating buyers applying for car loans; provided false employer telephone numbers to NFCU and then impersonated the employer while verifying the applicant’s employment and wages; and fraudulently inflated the true purchase price of vehicles and split the excess with the buyers. In total, Ayatollahi fraudulently caused NFCU to issue 61 car loans with a total loan amount of $1,168,904.97. Most of these loans went into default, resulting in a loss to NFCU of approximately $867,448.43. Additionally, Ayatollahi filed false tax returns with the IRS that underreported his income for tax years 2005-2007, resulting in a tax loss of $113,093.
Ayatollahi will be sentenced on July 13, 2016, and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison on the financial institution fraud charge and three years in prison on the charge of filing a false tax return. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John S. Adams, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Thomas Jankowski, Special Agent in Charge, Washington D.C. Field Office, IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), made the announcement after sentencing by made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan M. Salsbury is prosecuting the case.