Date: June 15, 2020 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org FRESNO, Calif. — Majed Bashir Akroush, aka Magic Mike of Bakersfield, was sentenced today to 33 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. His sentencing follows his guilty plea earlier this year. According to court documents, Akroush structured cash withdrawals over a three-year period in amounts just under $10,000 in order to evade the currency transaction report filing requirements. 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 Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, 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 (OCDETF) case. The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation's drug supply.