SHOREWOOD — A 26-year-old Shorewood man has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison on multiple federal charges in connection with the purchase and export of luxury vehicles to China.
The sentence was handed down on Tuesday, October 27th.
The accused is Mao Peng of Shorewood. In addition to the prison sentence, Peng has been ordered to pay more than $500,000 in restitution.
Peng had previously been charged by criminal information with, and had pleaded guilty to, three federal felony offenses: conspiracy to engage in wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in identity theft, and conspiracy to misuse of the United States’ Automated Export System to further criminal activity.
According to the information and plea agreement, Peng had conspired to defraud the state of Wisconsin of state and local sales tax revenue in connection with the purchase of luxury vehicles, which Peng and his company Longen Trading intended to export to China, by fraudulently using Native American straw buyers to make those purchases in a tax-exempt manner.
Specifically, Peng and Longen Trading used straw buyers in connection with the purchase of approximately 154 luxury vehicle purchase transactions, having a total purchase price of approximately $9,132,106.94, and thereby evaded Longen Trading’s payment of a total of approximately $515,964.04 in state and local sales taxes that Longen Trading was legally obligated to pay in connection with the purchase of those vehicles.
According to the information and a plea agreement, Peng and Longen Trading also conspired to cause luxury vehicles to be purchased for export, via identity theft, that is, by using means of identification that belonged to a past or prospective straw buyer, without that person’s permission to purchase the vehicle using his or her identity. Specifically, between in or about June 2012 and June 2014, Peng and Longen Trading conspired with others to purchase approximately 71 luxury vehicles, having a total purchase price of approximately $4,212,945.06, using a means of identification belonging to another person, without that person’s knowledge or permission.
According to the information and a plea agreement, between approximately June 2012 and June 2014, Peng and Longen Trading also conspired with others to use the Department of Commerce’s Automated Export System (“AES”) to further these illegal activities.
As a part of his plea agreement, Peng also agreed to the civil forfeiture of approximately $1.2 million in funds seized from various bank accounts he controlled as well as 29 new luxury vehicles, including new Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and BMW vehicles.