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Mike, Hadi Yassine sentenced to federal prison time

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TWC News: Mike, Hadi Yassine sentenced to federal prison time
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Austin nightclub owners Mike and Hadi Yassine were sentenced to federal prison time Friday for running a money-laundering operation in the heart of Austin's entertainment district.

Federal Judge Sam Sparks sentenced Mike Yassine to 151 months in federal prison for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money, with a $15,000 fine on each count.

Mike's brother Hadi Yassine was sentenced to 60 months in prison, also for money laundering and conspiracy to launder money. He faces up a $10,000 fine on each count.

The judge took into account Hadi's 3-month-old baby who requires extra medical attention. He is set to self-surrender on a later date.

Attorneys for the Yassines did not comment following Friday's court hearing.

In October, Mike and Hadi Yassine were convicted of laundering money through several downtown Austin nightclubs including Pure, Treasure Island, Fuel and Spill. Yassine Enterprises had been the target of a federal investigation since 2007.

In October when Mike and Hadi were convicted, attorney David Botsford expressed frustration with the federal case

"This was an abyssal prosecution with the government creating crime where none existed," he said.

Prosecutors used Mike and Hadi’s cousin Mo as an informant. Federal agents hired him for more than $300,000 to pose as a drug dealer, using the Yassine bars to launder at least $200,000.

After the Yassine brothers complete their prison sentences, each will be under federal government supervision for three years and will be deported.

The eldest brother, Steve Yassine, was found not guilty of money laundering, but pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and was sentenced to one year in prison. He also faces deportation.

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