A federal judge on Monday ruled the Internal Revenue Service can keep the $409,690 the agency seized from a Carrollton luxury used car dealer.
Agents confiscated the money from the owner of International Motor Productions in December 2010, claiming the funds were from large cash deposits which were structured to avoid IRS reporting requirements.
International Motor Productions’ website says the business was formed in 1996 and sells luxury used cars from manufacturers like BMW, Porsche and Mercedes. The company is located in the 3200-block of Keller Springs Road.
In a telephone interview with NBC 5, owner Brigette Brown admitted she broke up cash deposits in amounts under $10,000 because she wanted to avoid IRS scrutiny.
“I didn’t know there was anything wrong with it,” she said. “I run a very honest, legitimate business.”
According to court documents, the IRS began an investigation after noticing an unusually large number of suspicious cash deposits in amounts just under $10,000. Federal law requires cash deposits larger than that amount to be reported to the IRS.
Brown also did not file an IRS return in 2009, an agent wrote in a seizure document.
Brown denies that charge.
“I’ve filed every single year,” she said.
In court filings, Brown had asked the government to return the seized money, claiming it was “earned in the course of a legal business enterprise.”
She also denied structuring any cash deposits, saying “they were simply deposited as they were earned.”
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade issued a final order allowing the government to keep the money.
Brown said she will miss the money but is ready to move on after a long investigation.
She also said she hopes what happened to her will serve as a lesson for other business owners who may not understand the reporting requirements.
"I’ve always been told you want to stay under the radar with the IRS,” she said. “I think everyone under the sun thinks that same thing.”