513 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 2008), 07-2481, United States v. Tahzib

Docket Nº:07-2481.
Citation:513 F.3d 692
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Nassim TAHZIB, also known as Sean Panahi, Defendant-Appellant.
Case Date:January 17, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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513 F.3d 692 (7th Cir. 2008)

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,


Nassim TAHZIB, also known as Sean Panahi, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 07-2481.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

Jan. 17, 2008

Argued Dec. 11, 2007.

Rachel Cannon (argued), Office of the United States Attorney, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Kent R. Carlson (argued), Carlson & Associates, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before POSNER, WOOD, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.

EVANS, Circuit Judge.

This is the kind of case that could give car salesmen a bad name.

Nassim Tahzib, a luxury car salesman, embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from his employer and didn't pay the tax man his share of the money. He also had, at least he said he had, a gambling addiction. His failure to pay taxes and his embezzlement eventually led to guilty pleas to a two-count information (he waived indictment) charging income tax evasion and wire fraud. At sentencing, Tahzib sought a below-guidelines sentence based on his claimed gambling addiction and other personal characteristics. The district court rejected his arguments and imposed concurrent terms of 30 months, the low end of the advisory guidelines

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range. On appeal, Tahzib argues, unconvincingly, that his 30-month sentence is unreasonable.

Tahzib sold cars at MotorWerks, a luxury car dealership in Barrington, Illinois, from 1992 to 2001. In three separate sales in 2001--one Jeep, 1 one Mercedes, and one Lexus--Tahzib asked the buyers to pay by transferring money to an account he represented as belonging to MotorWerks but which actually belonged to his wife. Tahzib netted $143,967 from the three sales. Tahzib took a less sophisticated approach in another 2001 sale of a Mercedes when he asked the buyer to pay with a $50,000 cashier's check payable to his wife. Tahzib also had used his wife's account in a 2000 consignment sale of a Porsche for $176,600. On Tahzib's instructions, the buyer wired the purchase money to the account, and Tahzib transferred a portion to the seller. Tahzib kept the remainder, about $140,000, but told the seller that he had used it to pay off the seller's loan from Porsche. Through these five sales, Tahzib stole more than $300,000. These facts underlie the wire fraud charge. See 18 U.S.C. § 1343. The failure to pay taxes on the monies he received underlies the income tax evasion charge. See 26 U.S.C. § 7201.

In his plea agreement, Tahzib admitted to other conduct relevant to the tax evasion charge: working under an alias, being paid in his wife's name, and asking his employer not to withhold taxes from his wages after falsely representing that he was making quarterly tax payments. He stipulated that his failure to pay any income tax for 2000 and his underpayment for 2001...

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