A Kaneohe luxury and sports car dealer suspected of laundering money for pimps pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to failing to report a cash transaction of more than $10,000 to the Internal Revenue Service as required by law.
William Bartenstein, 70, faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when a federal judge sentences him in October. He owns and operates the Corvette Center Ltd., which specializes in sales of Chevrolet Corvettes and other sports and luxury cars.
Bartenstein admitted accepting $38,174 cash from an IRS special agent posing as a pimp for the purchase of a pickup truck and failing to report the transaction to the IRS.
The IRS said it began investigating Bartenstein in 2003 after an informant reported that Bartenstein was willing to launder money or structure large cash transactions to evade reporting requirements.
During the joint investigation with the Honolulu Police Department, the IRS said it noticed that suspected pimps and prostitutes and a suspected narcotics trafficker were driving cars purchased from Bartenstein but registered to somebody else.