U.S. Attorney John H. Durham announced Thursday the owner of Nafisa, LLC and later BAB Enterprise, LLC was sentenced to 10 months in prison for attempting to obstruct federal tax laws.
Fifty-one-year-old Asafak B. Bhura of Manchester, Connecticut was registered with the U.S. Department of Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network as a money service business. This privilege allows Bhura to sell money orders and money wire service to the public for fees. The store was not permitted to cash checks, because it was never licensed by the state of Connecticut, according to court documents.
Bhura adopted an anti-money laundering program, along with check cashing procedures and policies for his store in April 2010, following an Internal Revenue Service Secrecy Act Compliance Audit. To cash a check, customers had to provide the store with acceptable forms of identification, including phone numbers, address and place of employment.
Bhura cashed 126 fraudulent U.S. Treasury tax refund checks from March 2012 to June 2012 for one individual, without identification verification. The checks which were not made payable to that individual totaled up to $787,187.17. Instead of depositing the checks into the store’s business accounts, Bhura deposited them into his personal accounts.
Bhura received $39,359 for cashing the fraudulent checks.
In addition to the prison sentence, Bhura was ordered to bay $39,359 in restitution.