Bakersfield man pleads guilty to conspiring to structure funds
FRESNO, Calif. — Majed Bashir Akroush, aka "Mike Akroush," aka "Magic Mike," 52, of Bakersfield, California, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to structure at least half a million dollars in cash withdrawals from his bank accounts, Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Daniel C. Comeaux and U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced the plea.
According to court documents, Akroush structured funds in amounts just under $10,000 in order to evade the currency transaction report filing requirements. As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to the forfeiture of the following assets derived from his structuring activity: real property in Bakersfield, approximately $109,555 seized from five different bank accounts, approximately $199,181 in cash seized from his residence, approximately $233,460 in cash seized from two safe deposit boxes, and a 1962 Chevrolet Impala.
According to court documents, during the time of the structured cash withdrawals, Akroush owned Magic Mans Wholesale Inc., an internet business that distributed synthetic marijuana, commonly known as spice or incense. Magic Mans Wholesale later morphed into other spice businesses known as Blue Whale Wholesale and World of Inc. Wholesale. Federal agents successfully seized and shut down these websites and forfeited the domain names.
Akroush is scheduled for sentencing on May 18, 2020 before U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd. Akroush faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to twice the gross gain obtained by him. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, and the California Highway Patrol with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Kern County Probation, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and Bakersfield Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Karen A. Escobar and Henry Z. Carbajal III are prosecuting the case.
This case was designated an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) case. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.