FRESNO, Calif. — A Bakersfield man, nicknamed 'Magic Mike', was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for conspiring to structure over $700,000 in cash withdrawals from four different bank accounts associated with his internet businesses that sold synthetic marijuana U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced Monday.
Majed Bashir Akroush, 52, structured cash withdrawals over a three-year period in amounts just under $10,000 in order to evade the currency transaction report filing requirements, according to court documents.
His sentencing follows his guilty plea earlier this year.
In addition to imposing a prison sentence, the court fined the defendant $7,500 and ordered the forfeiture of the following assets owned by Akroush: real property in Bakersfield, approximately $109,555 seized from five different bank accounts, approximately $199,181 in cash seized from a safe in his residence, approximately $233,460 in cash seized from two safe deposit boxes, and a 1962 Chevrolet Impala worth $200,000.
According to court documents, during the time of the structured cash withdrawals, Akroush operated several internet businesses–Magic Man’s Wholesale, Blue Whale Wholesale, World of Incense, and Blue Bear– that distributed synthetic marijuana to convenience stores, smoke shops, and other customers throughout the country. Although marketed as a legal alternative to marijuana, the products contained illegal drugs that have much more harmful effects than marijuana. Akroush structured the proceeds derived from synthetic drug sales as a means of concealing the illegal nature of his businesses.
This case was 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 case.