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Mason City car dealer sentenced to federal prison for money laundering

Wheelman Auto, 1201 South Federal in Mason City

CEDAR RAPIDS – A Mason City car dealer who laundered what he believed to be drug proceeds by selling a car for cash and not reporting the sale as he was required to do was sentenced today to more than a year in federal prison.

Jerry Flaherty, age 54, from Mason City, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 25, 2018 guilty plea to money laundering.

Information disclosed at sentencing and in a written plea agreement showed that in the spring of 2014, an undercover law enforcement officer met Flaherty at his car dealership, Wheel Man Auto, LLC in Mason City. During one meeting, the law enforcement officer purported to be a drug dealer and told Flaherty, among other things, that “I just don’t want the government forms to file” and “I just don’t want anything in my name.” During a second meeting, the undercover officer agreed to buy a car for $20,500 in cash, but Flaherty agreed to record the sale as a $15,000 credit card sale. During the meeting, the undercover officer told Flaherty “You know my deal. You know I sell cocaine and my thing is I just don’t need no, them government forms.” After the sale was completed, Flaherty never filed a form he was required to file under federal law documenting the sale.

Flaherty was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Flaherty was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment. He was also fined $25,000. He must also serve a one-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Flaherty was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Morfitt and investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

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