News Release
January 25, 2007

Former NBA Player Robert "Tractor" Traylor Pleads Guilty to Preparing a False Tax Return After Hiding Assets For Narcotics Trafficker

JAN 25 -- Robert Traylor, 29, of West Bloomfield, a former NBA basketball player, pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return, federal law enforcement officials announced today.

According to court records, Traylor’s name was used to make it appear that he had purchased two rental properties in Detroit, Michigan, when, in fact, the purchases had been funded and the properties owned by Quasand Lewis. Lewis has recently been sentenced in federal court on charges of narcotics trafficking and money laundering. In his plea today, Traylor admitted the properties for which he claimed deductions where titled in his name to conceal Quasand Lewis’ ownership of them from law enforcement. Traylor also admitted as part of his plea that on his 2004 federal income tax return, he claimed a loss of over $205,000 from the rental properties, which he knew to be false.

“Mr. Traylor’s guilty plea highlights the length to which individuals trafficking in narcotics will go to hide their illegal proceeds from law enforcement. DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to not only ridding the streets of drugs and those who traffic in major quantities of them, but to finding and stopping the illegal transfer of drug proceeds as well," said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Corso.

On December 11, 2006, Lewis was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for his role in illegal drug trafficking after admitting that he organized the distribution of more than 10,000 kilograms of marijuana in the Detroit metro area. Traylor is the second defendant to plead guilty this year to concealing assets for Lewis and the conspiracy in which he was involved. Earlier in January, 2006, Raheel “Ray” Shiekh, a Hamtramck businessman, pleaded guilty earlier this month to converting over $1.2 million dollars in cashiers checks for the purchase of properties in nominee names in Detroit federal court.

United States Attorney Stephen Murphy stated, “As I have said many times, we take the enforcement of federal criminal tax laws very seriously. Anyone who, for whatever reason, disguises the true nature of their income and deductions, denies the government the very tax dollars it needs to effectuate its various functions and many important programs. Anyone who would defraud the IRS by causing income tax forms to be filed that are false can expect to be greeted with federal prosecution and an appropriate penalty to possibly include jail time.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge Maurice Aouate stated that, "Like many criminals, those who defy and deride the system of voluntary tax compliance are motivated by greed. IRS Criminal Investigation's unique role is to follow the money trail and, in partnership with DEA and other law enforcement agencies, identify all the guilty parties, shutting them down for good.”

A sentencing date will be set by the Court.