WASHINGTON – Mohammad Jafar Nikbakht, aka Freydoon Nikbakht, was sentenced Friday to 15 months in prison for evading his individual income taxes, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. According to the indictment and other documents filed with the court, Nikbakht ran a series of lucrative auto dealerships in the greater San Diego area and significantly under-reported income earned through these businesses. John A. Houston, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of California, who presided over the sentencing hearing, found that Nikbakht caused over $200,000 in tax loss. Judge Houston ordered Nikbakht to make restitution payments to the IRS for $124,454 of this amount.
Nikbakht had pleaded guilty to tax evasion on March 30, 2011. At his plea hearing, he admitted that during 2007 he earned income through auto dealership operations, including through a dealership called Southern California Car Exchange. Nikbakht further admitted that he willfully failed to file his personal tax return and pay his taxes for 2007, and that he engaged in various acts to conceal income from the IRS. For example, Nikbakht admitted that he operated under another dealer’s license and that he instructed the other dealer to write his income payment checks to the order of a third-party or to “cash”.