Alleged embezzlement at Sonnen car dealerships in Marin County hit $6.3M in losses

From North Bay Business Journal, “Three executives of Sonnen Motorcars in Marin County were arrested Jan. 12 in an alleged conspiracy and fraud scheme with estimated losses of $6.3 million from 2010 to 2016.

Amir Bakhtiari, Arlette Casino and Austin Caba were arrested for their respective roles in an alleged conspiracy and fraud scheme, according to acting United States Attorney Alex G. Tse, based in San Francisco.

From 2009 to 2016, Bakhtiari managed the Volkswagen and Audi dealerships, the DOJ said. Bakhtiari allegedly used a scheme wherein Sonnen made payments on fraudulent invoices to fake advertising vendors that then forwarded the majority of proceeds from Sonnen back to Bakhtiari.

The indictment alleges that Casino, 47, a resident of Santa Rosa, who served as controller of Sonnen from 2013 to 2016, and Caba, 38, a resident of Burlingame, who controlled one of the fake advertising vendors, conspired with Bakhtiari and participated in the scheme since 2013.

According to the indictment, Bakhtiari caused others to create shell entities with names suggesting that the shell companies were in the advertising business. The shell companies were allegedly controlled by friends or associates of Bakhtiari’s, including Caba.”

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