Examples of General Fraud Investigations - Fiscal Year 2014
The following examples of general fraud investigations are written from public record documents on file in the courts within the judicial district where the cases were prosecuted.
Man Sentenced for Theft of Public Money and Money Laundering
On Sept. 24, 2014, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Michael Craig Miller was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $566,000 in restitution. Miller pleaded guilty in April 2014 to theft of public money and money laundering. According to court documents, during 2006, Miller embezzled more than $400,000 from the United States Army Medical Materiel Agency (USMMA). Miller was an employee of EXP Pharmaceutical, a firm in the business of returning unneeded pharmaceuticals to the manufacturers and vendors of those pharmaceuticals. Miller fraudulently directed the payment of funds which EXP Pharmaceutical received from a drug vendor to his own personal bank account. Miller used the funds to purchase a house in the Philippines and an automobile.
Virginia Man Sentenced for Massive Tax Fraud
On Sept. 23, 2014, in Richmond, Virginia, Billy Gene Jefferson, Jr., of Richmond, was sentenced to 240 months in prison. Restitution will be determined at a later date. On Dec. 19, 2013, Jefferson pleaded guilty to orchestrating a multimillion dollar rehabilitation tax credit scheme. According to court records, between 2009 and 2012 Jefferson applied for and received millions in state and federal historic tax credits for the rehabilitation of a former tobacco manufacturing plant followed by the rehabilitation of ten historic buildings. Jefferson then sold many of those tax credits to corporate investors. However, Jefferson grossly inflated the rehabilitation costs on the properties at issue, and as a result, he fraudulently obtained millions in state and federal tax credits. The loss in federal tax credits was $5,754,616, and the loss in state credits was $7,193,270, for a combined total of approximately $12,947,886. After Jefferson pleaded guilty, he was released on bond, allowing him to gather funds to repay his victims before sentencing. However, Jefferson stole and spent funds that could have been used to repay his victims, including orchestrating hundreds of covert transactions designed to spend and conceal over $7 million.
Kentucky Resident Sentenced for $1.2 Million Dollar Bank Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns
On Sept. 22, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee, David A. Billington was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution and the taxes that he owed. In April 2014, Billington pleaded guilty to bank fraud and filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Billington admitted to embezzling $1.2 million from his former employer, where he worked as a contract bookkeeper. From 2006 to 2011, he secretly wrote a series of company checks made payable to him and altered company books and records to conceal the fraud. Billington also failed to disclose the embezzled funds in tax returns he filed for tax years 2006 through 2010, which resulted in an underpayment of almost $280,000 in income taxes.
Two Rhode Island Men Sentenced for Food Stamp Fraud
On Sept. 19, 2014, in Providence, Rhode Island, Amir Rasheed was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution. Rasheed, owner of a Stop & Go convenience store, pleaded guilty in February 2014 to conspiring to defraud the food stamp program, food stamp fraud and money laundering. Mustafa Al Kabouni, owner of the Corner Store and the Regency Mart in Providence, was sentenced on Sept. 5, 2014, to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,927,755 in restitution. Kabouni pleaded guilty in February 2014 to one count of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud, three counts of food stamp fraud, eight counts of wire fraud and six counts of money laundering. According to court documents, the defendants allowed SNAP benefit recipients to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to exchange their SNAP benefits for cash, a violation of the program's laws and regulations. In return, the defendants added a surcharge to the recipients’ withdrawal of SNAP benefits, usually an amount equal to that of the amount of cash benefit received by the recipient.
Accountant Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Tax Evasion
On Sept. 19, 2014, in Seattle, Washington, Bruce Bergman, of Kirkland, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for wire fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, in 2000, Bergman started his own accounting firm, the Bergman Group. For nine years Bergman had been doing the taxes of a close family member and her husband. In 2002, he led the couple to believe that he was still completing their taxes and making payments from the funds they sent to him. However, he was keeping their money and never filed their tax returns or made their tax payments. In order to keep the scheme going, Bergman filled out various documents including change of address forms so that no notices from the IRS about failure to pay taxes would reach the couple. The scheme was discovered when the relatives consulted a different accountant who discovered no taxes had been paid on behalf of the couple. Bergman left the couple with a tax bill of more than one million dollars.
Missouri Man Sentenced for Embezzling $4.9 Million from Employer
On Sept. 19, 2014, in Springfield, Missouri, David VanWinkle, of Neosho, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to forfeit to the government $4,911,621, a 2013 Holland tractor, a 2007 Hummer H3, a 2012 John Deere no-till seed drill, and $28,086 that was seized from various bank accounts. On Feb. 28, 2014, VanWinkle pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and failure to pay taxes. According to court documents, VanWinkle was the comptroller for Frontier Leasing Incorporated (FLI) in Joplin. He admitted that he stole $4,911,621 from FLI between June 2008 and December 2013, which he spent on personal expenses and gambling. VanWinkle was responsible for collecting payroll taxes for FLI and paying over those payroll taxes to the IRS. VanWinkle collected, but failed to pay over to IRS, a total of $435,896 withheld from FLI employees’ paychecks. In addition, acting as the comptroller for FLI, VanWinkle received payments from FLI’s customers in the form of checks. VanWinkle deposited some of those checks into FLI’s legitimate business accounts, but deposited other checks into a secret checking account under the name of FLI that VanWinkle had opened at another bank. VanWinkle failed to report the embezzled funds from FLI on his personal income tax returns he filed with the IRS for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. VanWinkle did not file income tax returns for the years 2011 and 2012, and therefore did not report the embezzled funds during these years, either.
California Woman Sentenced for Failing to Report Over $2.1 Million in Income
On Sept. 15, 2014, in San Jose, California, Liping Liu was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay a $25,000 fine and $744,248 in restitution. Liu pleaded guilty on March 24, 2014 to tax evasion. According to the plea agreement, Liu was the receptionist and office manager for her spouse’s pediatric dental and orthodontic practice. Liu skimmed money from various sources, including rental properties and her spouse’s dental and orthodontic practice. She evaded taxes by funneling money from her husband’s practice into various bank accounts to prevent those funds from appearing in the business bank accounts. In addition, from 2006 through 2010, Liu was a 50% partner in a limited liability corporation, HSL, which was created to hold rental property. Liu diverted rental checks paid to HSL to non-business bank accounts for the purpose of evading taxes on the HSL entity. From 2006 through 2010, Liu omitted $2,147,741 in gross receipts which resulted in additional tax due and owing of $744,248. Liu also provided incomplete and false information to the family bookkeeper, and engaged in a series of structured cash transactions from September 2008 to September 2009, which allowed her to continue to hide taxes from the IRS.
Missouri Couple Sentenced in Embezzlement Scheme
On Sept. 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Missouri, Donna M. Preszler, and her husband, Terrance W. Preszler, both formerly of Chillicothe, were sentenced on charges involving the wife’s embezzlement of nearly $4 million from her employer and for the couple jointly filing a false income tax return. Donna Preszler was sentenced to 70 months in prison. Terrance Preszler was sentenced to 36 months in prison. The Preszlers were also ordered to pay $4,049,121 in restitution to Burdg, Dunham & Associates Construction Corp. and $1,236,690 in restitution to the IRS. In addition, the Preszlers were ordered to forfeit to the government a money judgment of $3,912,000, real property, jewelry, vehicles and several bank and funeral trust accounts, all of which was derived from the proceeds of the criminal violations. On Feb. 13, 2014, Donna Preszler pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false income tax return. Terrance Preszler pleaded guilty to filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, Donna Preszler worked as an accounting manager for Burdg, Dunham & Associates Construction Corp. (BDA) in Hamilton, Mo. She embezzled $3,912,000 from June 30, 2006 through June 15, 2012. She also conducted financial transactions that involved the proceeds of her criminal activity. Donna and Terrance Preszler failed to report the fraudulently obtained funds on their federal income tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2012. During that time, the Preszlers filed their federal income tax returns jointly and should have paid $1,236,690 in taxes on their unreported fraudulent income from BDA.
Contractor Sentenced For Tax Evasion
On September 12, 2014, in Manhattan, New York, Nick Jodha, a/k/a Nick Persaud, was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison. Jodha pleaded guilty to tax evasion. According to court documents, Jodha the owner of a contracting business that provided heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”) services throughout the New York City metropolitan area. From 2007 through 2010, Jodha cashed more than $2.3 million in checks made payable to United HVAC at a check cashing service in Manhattan, rather than depositing the business checks into the business’s corporate bank account. Jodha used the proceeds from the cashed checks for business and personal purposes. Jodha failed to inform his accountant of the checks he cashed at the check cashing service, which were not reflected in the statements of United HVAC’s business bank account. Moreover, Jodha failed to advise his accountant that he used a portion of the cashed checks for business and personal expenses. Jodha admitted to filing false S-Corporation income tax returns on behalf United HVAC for the tax years 2007 through 2010 and to filing false individual income tax returns for the tax years 2007 through 2010.
Former School Employee Sentenced for Tax Evasion, Stealing from School District
On Sept. 12, 2014, in Austin, Texas, Patty E. Smith, of Lohn, Texas, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $ 636,475 in restitution for embezzling from the Lohn Independent School District (LISD). Smith pleaded guilty in June 2014 to one count of tax evasion and one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds. According to court documents, Smith admitted that, between September 2006 and September 2012, she stole LISD funds totaling $507,075 and used it for her personal benefit. Smith did not have signature authority over any LISD financial accounts, however, she had sufficiently gained the trust of the person with signature authority to the point that that person signed blank checks for funds that Smith would subsequently complete and make payable to either “cash” or fictitious payees. Smith concealed her activities by recording false check amounts in the check register.
Greek National Sentenced for Role in Multi-Million Dollar Scheme to Defraud Developers
On Sept. 9, 2014, in Boston, Massachusetts, Evripides Georgiadis, of Larisa, Greece, was sentenced to 102 months in prison and ordered to pay $8.4 million in restitution. In May 2014, Georgiadis was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. According to court documents, between 2007 and 2011, Georgiadis participated in a conspiracy to defraud developers who were seeking financing for large-scale alternative energy and commercial projects by pretending to be a representative of a multi-billion dollar fund located in Luxembourg. Georgiadis and his co-conspirators convinced developers to give deposits between $300,000 and $1 million to this fraudulent fund with the promise that the deposit would be fully refundable. Georgiadis and his co-conspirators spent and transferred the developers' deposit money out of the country, and the fraudulent fund never financed any projects. Over $7 million was stolen from victims, including $600,000 which had originally been provided by a financial adviser, Sean Mansfield. Mansfield, in turn, had stolen the funds from his clients. In 2011, Mansfield was sentenced to 60 months in prison for defrauding his clients. Georgiadis’s co-defendants, John Condo, Frank Barecich, and Michael Zanetti, have all been sentenced to prison. Condo and Barecich were sentenced to 90 months and 12 months in prison, respectively. Zanetti was sentenced to 37 months in prison.
Former Maryland Resident Sentenced For Role in $3.7 Million Advance Fee Scheme and Tax Evasion
On Sept. 8, 2014, in Greenbelt, Maryland, Shannon Johnson, formerly of Laytonsville, Maryland, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $3.7 million. According to court documents, Johnson admitted that he ran a fraudulent advance fee scheme from 2006 to 2009. Johnson presented himself as a wealthy international investment banker who could provide millions of dollars and euros in financing to businesses and individuals in return for substantial advance banking fees. Johnson and his wife, Yvette, promised to provide investors with money which they claimed they held in an overseas bank account. Shannon Johnson provided false documents purporting to be from the overseas bank to authenticate the funds. Businesses and individuals wired and mailed the advance fees to multiple bank accounts controlled by the Johnsons in different states. Despite receiving approximately $3.7 million in advance fees, Johnson never provided the promised financing. Instead, the Johnsons used the money to support their lifestyle. Johnson also evaded taxes on millions of dollars in income earned from the advance fee scheme. Johnson attempted to conceal income and assets from the IRS by various methods. Yvette Johnson, of Corona, California, previously pleaded guilty to her participation in the fraud scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.
Caribbean-Based Investment Advisor Sentenced For Using Offshore Accounts to Launder and Conceal Funds
On Sept. 5, 2014, in Alexandria, Virginia, Joshua Vandyk, an investment advisor, was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Vandyk, a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty on June 12, 2014 to conspiring to launder monetary instruments. Co-defendants Eric St-Cyr and Patrick Poulin, Canadian citizens, pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. According to court documents, Vandyk and St-Cyr lived in the Cayman Islands and worked for an investment firm based there. Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin conspired to conceal and disguise property believed to be the proceeds of bank fraud, specifically $2 million. Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin solicited U.S. citizens to use their services to hide assets from the U.S. government, including the IRS. Vandyk, St-Cyr and Poulin assisted undercover law enforcement agents posing as U.S. clients in laundering purported criminal proceeds through an offshore structure. The investment firm represented that it would neither disclose the investments or any investment gains to the U.S. government, nor would it provide monthly statements or other investment statements to the clients. Clients were able to monitor their investments online through the use of anonymous, numeric passcodes. Upon request from the U.S. client, Vandyk and St-Cyr liquidated investments and transferred money, through Poulin, back to the United States.
Former Office Manager Sentenced for Forgery and Signing a False Tax Return
On Sept. 5, 2014, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Erin Marie Wells, of Yukon, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $308,002 to Advanced Electric and the IRS. According to court documents, from 2009 until mid-2013, Wells was employed as the office manager of Advanced Electric, located in Oklahoma City. She was responsible for paying the company’s bills, depositing checks into the company bank account, and maintaining the company’s books and records. On May 12, 2014, she pleaded guilty to forging the signature of the company’s owner on a $1,500 check and using the proceeds for her personal benefit. Wells also admitted that on Jan. 11, 2013, she signed a personal federal tax return for the 2012 calendar year that she knew was false because it reported only $28,386 in total income, substantially less than the income she actually received.
Private Detective Sentenced for Tax Felony
On Sept. 4, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Yaser Khalil Masso, of Philadelphia, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $429,070 in restitution, including interest to the IRS. According to court documents, Masso filed materially false tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2009, substantially under-reporting his income from his sole proprietorship, the Masso Detective Agency. For tax years 2006 through 2009, Masso reported a total of $454,579 of taxable (net) income -- failing to report an additional $2.1 million in taxable income.
Former Chief Technology Officer Sentenced for Wire Fraud, Bribery and Filing a False Income Tax Return
On Sept. 4, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana, Greg Meffert, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $43,839. Meffert pleaded guilty in November 2010 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, beginning in 2002 and continuing for several years, Meffert, the former Chief Technology Officer and Executive Assistant to the Mayor of New Orleans, and city vendor Mark St. Pierre participated in a conspiracy to use Meffert's position with the city of New Orleans to manipulate the procurement process for technology services to provide millions of dollars in city funds to St. Pierre and his companies who illegally made bribes and kickbacks to Meffert. Meffert also pleaded guilty to filing a false income tax return for tax year 2006, in which he failed to fully account for the monies he received from St. Pierre.
Founder of USA Harvest Sentenced for Embezzling From the Charity and Tax Fraud
On Sept. 4, 2014, in Louisville, Kentucky, Hugh “Stan” Curtis was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years supervised release and ordered to pay $183,354 in restitution. Curtis pleaded guilty to mail fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Curtis admitted that from September 2005 through September 2007, he stole $183,354 in donations that he solicited on behalf of USA Harvest, a non-profit organization he founded. Curtis also admitted that from 2005 through 2008, he filed false tax returns with the IRS, failing to report personal income derived from donations made to USA Harvest and falsely including unreimbursed travel expense deductions.
Former Vice President of the Wine Tasting Network Sentenced in Embezzlement Case
On Sept. 2, 2014, in San Francisco, California, Martin Christopher Edwards was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $894,222 in restitution to the WineTasting Network. Edwards pleaded guilty on April 16, 2014, to mail fraud and tax evasion. According to the plea agreement, Edwards was the Vice President and General Manager of the WineTasting Network, when he created Dufrane Compliance Trust, a fictitious entity that purported to provide compliance services to wineries and wine retailers. Edwards directed the WineTasting Network to make payments to the Dufrane Compliance Trust totaling approximately $894,000. Edwards falsely represented to WineTasting Network employees that these payments were for tax compliance services rendered by Dufrane Compliance Trust, when, in fact, no such services were rendered. Edwards used the money for his own personal expenses. In addition, during tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012, Edwards did not declare any of the monies on his federal income tax returns. The plea agreement also included an enhancement for obstruction of justice for Edwards’s flight to Mexico to avoid prosecution for these crimes.
Former CFO Sentenced for Conspiracy to Launder Money and Bank Fraud
On Aug. 29, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Irene Shannon, aka Irene Stay, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and two years of supervised release. On May 21, 2014, Shannon pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and bank fraud. According to court documents, Shannon was the chief financial officer of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. (RRA). In 2009, it was discovered that RRA was being utilized by its chairman and chief executive officer, Scott W. Rothstein, to commit a massive Ponzi scheme stemming from the sale of fictitious confidential settlements. Shannon oversaw the accounting functions of RRA, including the deposits and withdrawals made by RRA and Rothstein at financial institutions. In furtherance of the Ponzi scheme, Shannon transferred hundreds of millions of dollars obtained from investors to pay prior investors in the scheme and to supplement and support the operation and activities of RRA.
Driving School Owner Sentenced for Filing False Tax Return and Mail Fraud
On Aug. 27, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, Stuart Bryan King, owner of Little Lake Driving Academy, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $33,772 in restitution to the IRS. King pleaded guilty on March 7, 2014 to mail fraud and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Little Lake Driving Academy (LLDA) acted as a third party tester for the State of Colorado’s Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, administering written and driving examinations on behalf of the State of Colorado in order for an individual to obtain a Colorado Driver’s License. From August 2009 through November 2012, King and an employee of LLDA knowingly devised and participated in a scheme to defraud the Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by falsely certifying that applicants for a Colorado Driver’s License and instruction permit had successfully completed the required testing. As a result of the scheme, driver's licenses were mailed to applicants and during 2009 through 2012, and King administered nearly 1,000 of these "tests" collecting $323,050 in fees. King owned La Lagunilla, Inc. and Sovereign Enterprises, Ltd. which did business as Little Lake Driving Academy. For tax years 2009 through 2011, King failed to file business tax returns and under-reported income which resulted in a tax loss of $33,772.
Former Oklahoma Bookkeeper Sentenced For Wire Fraud, Filing a False Income Tax Return
On Aug. 27, 2014, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Tamara Housley, a/k/a Tami Housley, of Louden, Tennessee, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $336,950 in restitution to her employer and the IRS. On April 22, 2014, she pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud and filing a false income tax return for 2010. According to court records, Housley starting using business credit cards in 2006 to make unauthorized personal purchases and directed payments to her personal PayPal account, pay her personal utility bills, cable television and cell phone bills, and purchase concert tickets. Housley had exclusive access to the company mail and withheld the monthly credit card statements from her boss and, when she resigned, even changed the billing address on one card to her home address. Starting in 2007, according to court records, Housley used her access to the company payroll account to fraudulently add her boyfriend to the weekly payroll as a “ghost employee.” Housley was also charged with filing a false tax return.
Real Estate Developer Sentenced for ERISA Fraud and Failure to Pay Over Taxes
On Aug. 18, 2014, in Wilmington, Delaware, Michael A. Stortini was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $1,169,286. Stortini was the managing member of the Frank Robino Companies, LLC, (“FRC”) a real estate development company in Wilmington. On Oct. 24, 2014, Stortini pleaded guilty to theft from an employee pension benefit plan and willful failure to pay over tax. According to court documents, in 2009, Stortini diverted over $600,000 in funds from an employee 401(k) account to pay business expenses associated with the company. Moreover, in 2009 and 2010, Stortini failed to pay over $450,000 in payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service for entities related to FRC. Over the same time period, Stortini transferred over $900,000 from company accounts for his personal use.
DBSI Founders and Others Sentenced for Roles in Investment Fraud Scheme
On Aug. 20, 2014, in Boise, Idaho, DBSI founders Douglas L. Swenson, of Meridian, Idaho, and Mark A. Ellison, of Boise, Idaho, were sentenced for defrauding DBSI investors. Swenson, DBSI’s former CEO, was sentenced to 240 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $7,800 special assessment. Ellison, who previously served as DBSI’s General Counsel, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $4,400 special assessment. On Aug. 21, 2014, David D. Swenson, of Boise, Idaho, and Jeremy A. Swenson, of Meridian, Idaho, were each sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $4,400 special assessment. Restitution for all defendants will be ordered at a later date. According to trial evidence, DBSI was founded in 1979 and sold a range of security investments, including bonds, notes, and Tenant-in-Common interests (TIC investments) in both improved and unimproved real estate. Until DBSI’s bankruptcy in November 2008, the defendants represented to investors that DBSI was a highly profitable company with a net worth in excess of $105 million, and that it operated a successful business model that minimized risk to its investors and paid fixed returns as high as of 9.5%. However, DBSI’s various businesses were almost entirely unprofitable and dependent on new investor funds in order to continue operations. The defendants were responsible for losses of more than $100 million and there were more than 250 victims of the fraud.
Owner of Bankrupt Oil Company Sentenced for Investment Fraud
On Aug. 19, 2014, in Louisville, Kentucky, Anthony L. Young, of Metcalfe County, was sentenced to 33 months in prison. Young pleaded guilty to failure to file an income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, mail fraud in connection with the solicitation of investor funds for oil drilling partnerships, securities fraud, submitting false statements for the purchase of a firearm, and for the illegal possession of a firearm by a person addicted to controlled substances. According to court documents, Young fraudulently solicited investments through his company, Young Oil Corporation between November 2007 and December 2008. Young falsely represented the cost to investors in three separate oil drilling partnerships. Investors believed the $750,000 solicited for each oil well represented the total drilling costs. However, Young used the majority of the money for other purposes including personal use. Young failed to file federal income tax returns as required by law for calendar years 2005 and 2006.
Michigan Man Sentenced for Philippine Gold Scam and Failure to File Taxes
On Aug. 15, 2014, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Carl “Buck” Reed, of St. Joseph, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution. Reed was convicted in February 2014 of failing to file tax returns. According to court documents, Reed had not filed any tax returns -- or paid any taxes -- for almost 10 years, despite making more than $1 million in just a three year period and living an extravagant lifestyle that included five luxury vehicles and an expensive house. Shortly after the tax trial, Reed pleaded guilty to a Philippine gold fraud scheme. He admitted that he engaged in a scheme to defraud investors by soliciting money from investors to recover “Yamashita’s gold,” a legendary gold hoard supposedly left behind by Japanese soldiers when they were defeated by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. Desperate for money, Reed told investors that he and a co-conspirator had located the gold and would use their money to finance the gold extraction costs. He told other investors that he had access to “gold certificates” supposedly worth millions of dollars. Reed was able to obtain $1.3 million in connection with the two schemes. Instead of using the investors’ money as promised, Reed admitted that he spent it on himself so that he could maintain his façade of wealth.
California Business Owner Sentenced for Defrauding Investors of Over $5 Million
On Aug. 15, 2014, in Santa Ana, California, Michael J. Bowen was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5,008,500 in restitution. In November 2013, Bowen, the president of two real estate development companies with projects in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, from approximately 2003 to 2009, Bowen raised at least $28 million from approximately 500 investors through the unregistered offer and sale of securities in Eagle Storage and Development, LLC (ES) and Eagle Development Enterprises, Inc. (ED). Bowen hired unregistered sales agents to make cold calls to prospective investors throughout the United States regarding the opportunity to purchase securities in ES and ED. Bowen directed the sales agents to make material misrepresentations and omissions to prospective investors. Although claiming to use the investor funds to acquire real estate, build assisted living facilities and pay operating costs, Bowen misappropriated over $5 million in investor funds to pay his own personal expenses. Bowen further admitted that for the 2005 tax year, he filed a false tax return failing to report $2,465,000 in taxable income.
Florida Woman Sentenced for Filing a False Tax Return
On Aug. 7, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Erica Jacovia Bryant, of Miramar, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $89,190 in restitution to the IRS. Bryant was convicted on charges of filing a false claim. According to court documents, Bryant filed a false 2011 tax return that fraudulently sought an $110,859 tax refund. Based upon this fraudulent return and the information contained therein, Bryant ultimately obtained a tax refund from the IRS which was later utilized to purchase a 2013 Lincoln MKZ, which was later seized by the IRS for forfeiture.
New Jersey Man Sentenced for Racketeering Conspiracy and Tax Evasion
On Aug. 5, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, John Breheney, a/k/a “Fu,” of Little Egg Harbor, was sentenced to 38 months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $16,000 and ordered to pay forfeiture of $400,000. Breheney previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute and tax evasion. According to court documents, Breheney participated in the activities of the Genovese Crime Family of La Cosa Nostra through a pattern of racketeering activity including illegal gambling, theft from interstate shipments and the collection of unlawful debt. He also admitted that he failed to report approximately $101,166 in taxable income that he had received in 2007 and thus cheated the IRS out of approximately $30,982 in taxes in that year.
Former Bank Branch Manager Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Filing a False Tax Return
On July 30, 2014, in Springfield, Missouri, Jennifer A. Gunter, of Republic, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $547,897 in restitution. Gunter pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2013, to bank fraud and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Gunter was a bank branch manager and from December 2006 until November 2012, she repeatedly accessed the bank accounts of four elderly bank customers and embezzled a total of $316,598 from those accounts. Gunter submitted transaction tickets, withdrawal slips, and cashier’s checks on which she forged the names of the account holders in order to withdraw money from the bank accounts. She used the money for personal matters and expenses. Gunter set the customer accounts to “do not mail” status in order to keep the customers from receiving their bank statements and detecting the theft from their bank accounts. In addition, Gunter failed to report this embezzled income on her individual income tax returns. Gunter did not report over $257,000 of additional income for 2009 through 2012, resulting in additional tax due and owing of $50,140.
Government Contractor Sentenced for $14 Million Fraud Scheme
On July 29, 2014, in Birmingham, Alabama, Joseph Shane Terry, was sentenced to 108 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $1,019,761. Terry, sole owner of Government Technical Services (GTS), pleaded guilty in August 2013 to wire fraud, false statements to the Small Business Administration, false statements on loan applications and money laundering. According to Terry's plea agreement, he applied for, obtained and maintained small disadvantaged or minority-owned business status from the SBA by submitting fraudulent tax returns. Having the special status with the SBA enabled his company, GTS, to bid on and win government contracts specifically set aside for small disadvantaged businesses. Terry submitted personal and corporate returns to the SBA for the tax years 2002 through 2007 to show he was current on filing his taxes, but he had never filed the returns with the IRS. In all, Terry employed the fraudulent scheme to obtain more than $14 million in government contracts. Terry pleaded guilty to five wire fraud counts that involved separate electronic fund transfers totaling more than $500,000 from the contract. Terry also induced banks to make mortgage loans totaling $480,000 based on his false tax returns and other false financial documents. In 2008 he induced his then-girlfriend to apply for a loan and supplied documents falsely claiming that GTS employed her. Terry then used the fraudulently obtained loan proceeds for his own purpose.
Vending Machine Company Executive Sentenced for Role in Tax Fraud Scheme
On July 29, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, Joseph Belasco, of Cedar Grove, was sentenced to six months in prison, six months of home confinement, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution of $1 million and a $30,000 fine. Belasco previously pleaded guilty to providing a false 2008 IRS 1099 form to the wife of a PepsiCo executive for consulting services that she never performed. According to court documents, in the spring of 1998, Belasco, along with a business associate, created Impact Cause Related Marketing (Impact Marketing), a subsidiary of Culinary Ventures Vending, a company that placed and stocked vending machines in private and commercial facilities to allegedly provide Pepsi Bottling Co. with leads for acquiring new customers. Impact Marketing and Belasco would receive commissions and quarterly rebates (based on customer purchases) for as long as the client remained a Pepsi customer. A Pepsi employee, who developed new customers, assigned those customers to Impact Marketing. He also reassigned existing Pepsi customers to the list of new customers allegedly referred by Impact Marketing, generating additional commissions for leads for Belasco that Belasco had not actually generated himself. Between 1998 and 2008, Impact Marketing received from Pepsi $2.9 million in commissions and rebates as a result of the fraudulent scheme. The Pepsi employee’s wife who filed joint tax returns with her husband, received approximately $135,000 in annual income for a no-show position with Belasco and Impact Marketing.
Michigan Couple Sentenced for Tax Crimes
On July 28, 2014, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Helen C. Hale and her husband David W. Leiter, both residents of Kalamazoo County, were sentenced for tax crimes. Hale was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, two years supervised release and ordered to pay $277,391 in restitution for tax evasion. Leiter was sentenced to three months in prison, one year supervised release and ordered to pay $105,689 in restitution for failure to file a tax return. Both pleaded guilty in December 2013. According to court documents, Hale was self-employed as the owner of Kiddie Komfort Preschool and Daycare in Kalamazoo. Hale failed to timely file federal income tax returns for the years 2006 and 2008-2012 despite having gross business receipts of $2,693,478. Hale did file a federal income tax return for 2007 but failed to report approximately $380,165 in gross receipts that she received from her daycare business. Leiter was self-employed as the owner of David Michael Studios, a hair salon in Kalamazoo. Leiter failed to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2012, despite having gross business receipts of approximately $200,736.
Tennessee Man Sentenced for Stealing More Than $770,000 of Equipment
On July 28, 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee, Anthony Praino, of Columbia, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, one year supervised release and ordered to pay $207,847 in restitution. Praino pleaded guilty to stealing auto manufacturing equipment and failing to disclose the proceeds on his taxes. According to court documents, while employed as a fork lift operator at automobile plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., he stole the equipment and sold it during 2011 and 2012. Investigators with the automobile company discovered that a significant amount of expensive equipment was missing and later identified some of the equipment advertised for sale on eBay. The equipment was purchased by the investigators and when it was delivered to them, the return address for the sender was Praino’s residence. A search warrant later discovered additional stolen equipment valued at more than $500,000.
Florida Brothers and Company Sentenced in $4 million “Cash Back” Food Stamp Fraud Scheme
On July 24, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Ali Jaber, his brother, Hadi Jaber, both of Greenacres, and Jaber Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Fajita’s Meat and Fish Market (Fajita’s), were sentenced for their role in a food stamp fraud scheme. Ali and Hadi Jaber were each sentenced to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release and both agreed to pay $4 million, jointly and severally, as restitution to the US Department of Agriculture. The corporation, Jaber Enterprises, Inc., was sentenced to five years of organizational probation and $4 million in restitution. All three defendants previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Ali and Hadi Jaber also each pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud and engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. According to court documents, from October 2006 through their arrest in December 2013, Ali and Hadi Jaber operated Fajita's. Fajita’s was an authorized retailer for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Between October 2006, when they purchased Fajita’s, and their arrest in December 2013, the Jabers unlawfully provided certain SNAP recipients cash in exchange for their SNAP benefits. The defendants charged a substantial fee, in some cases, as much as approximately 30 percent to 50 percent of the amount of the SNAP benefits redeemed. From Jan. 1, 2009 through April 30, 2013, over $6 million in SNAP proceeds were redeemed by Fajita's. The defendants admitted that between $2.8 and $6 million of the proceeds were fraudulent. Both men admitted to withdrawing over $1.8 million in cash from the scheme. In addition, Ali Jaber admitted wiring approximately $179,000 in fraud proceeds to an account in his name in Beirut, Lebanon, and over $400,000 in fraudulent proceeds was wired to various entities and individuals in Lebanon and Canada. The Jabers also admitted that approximately $220,000 from the Jaber Enterprises, Inc. accounts was used to purchase a single family home in Greenacres. Though titled in the name of Jaber Enterprises, Inc., the home was the residence of Hadi Jaber and his family. Ali Jaber admitted that he did not disclose his Beirut account in his bankruptcy filings, and Hadi Jaber admitted he did not disclose his interest in Fajita’s in his filings.
Wisconsin Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Tax Evasion
On July 18, 2014, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Paul LaChappelle, of Manitowoc, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $520,000 in restitution to his former employer. In April 2014, LaChappelle pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, LaChappelle was previously employed as a maintenance technician at a manufacturing facility. Using this position, LaChappelle entered into an arrangement with a Florida business under which LaChappelle would cause his employer to order replacement parts for machinery LaChappelle serviced from the Florida business. The Florida business would obtain the parts from LaChappelle, who simply stole the parts from his employer’s inventory. During the period from April 2009 through December 2011, LaChappelle’s employer paid the Florida business more than $500,000 for these replacement parts and LaChappelle received more than $268,000 for the parts he supplied. In addition, LaChappelle failed to report the income he received as part of his scheme. He also claimed fictitious business expenses on the tax returns he filed for the years 2008 through 2011.
Illinois Woman Sentenced for Embezzlement and Structuring
On July 17, 2014 in East St. Louis, Illinois, Karen Strasser Steinke, of Millstadt, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Steinke was convicted of wire fraud and structuring in a scheme to embezzle from her clients. According to court documents, Steinke was an officer, owner and operator of Metro East Title Company. As a title insurance agent, she received money on behalf of others, which included escrow, settlement and closing funds. On several occasions, Steinke used the cash deposited in escrow with her company for her personal expenses and gambling habit. Steinke structured the deposit of cash into bank accounts to replenish part of the money that she had taken in an attempt to avoid detection.
Nevada Man Sentenced for Selling Unregistered Stock and Tax Evasion
On July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Marco Glisson, of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 48 months in prison. Glisson pleaded guilty on Jan. 15, 2014, to conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities and tax evasion. According to court documents, Glisson made over $3 million from selling unregistered penny stock in a purported diamond mine company known as CMKM. Glisson, who was not a registered broker or dealer of securities, conspired with others to purchase and sell CMKM, Inc. penny stock after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permanently revoked CMKM’s trading privileges. Beginning about December 2005, Glisson and his conspirators used a transfer agent/company known as Global Stock Transfer LLC to cancel CMKM’s stock certificates that were held in the names of other co-conspirators and reissue them to Glisson. As Glisson sold the shares of CMKM stock, the stock transfer company would cancel them and reissue them to the purchasers. From December 2005 to May 2006, Glisson sold billions of shares of CMKM stock to at least 65 different persons in the United States and Canada. Glisson’s sales of billions of unregistered shares of CMKM stock from 2006 to 2007 yielded him more than $1.7 million. However, Glisson failed to pay the federal income taxes he owed for 2006 and 2007, and instead took affirmative acts to hide the income, such as placing money in bank accounts under the name of his wife and others and using cash.
Pennsylvania Man Sentenced on Fraud and Tax Charges
On July 10, 2014, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Brian Hewson, of Canadensis, was sentenced to 70 months in prison and ordered to make restitution of $379,000. In September 2013, Hewson pleaded guilty to bank fraud and assisting in the preparation of a false federal income tax return. According to court documents, Hewson, who formerly operated a business known as Hewson Contracting, was involved in a scheme to defraud customers of his company. Hewson misappropriated checks and other banking information belonging to the customers and fraudulently caused money transfers to be made to himself and others. Hewson was also held accountable at sentencing for three counterfeit checks, totaling $150,000 that he attempted to cash while on pretrial release. Hewson did not declare the income from his crimes on his federal income tax return.
California Man Sentenced for Economic Espionage and Other Federal Charges
On July 10, 2014, in San Francisco, California, Walter Lian-Heen Liew, aka Liu Yuanxuan, was sentenced to 180 months in prison and ordered to forfeit $27.8 million in illegal profits and to pay $511,667 in restitution. Liew was convicted on March 6, 2014, on violations of the Economic Espionage Act, tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud and obstruction of justice. The jury found that Liew, his company, USA Performance Technology, Inc. (USAPTI), and another individual conspired to steal trade secrets from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company regarding their chloride-route titanium dioxide (TiO2) production technology and sold those secrets for large sums of money to state-owned companies of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This case marks the first federal jury conviction on charges brought under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996. Liew, as co-owner of USAPTI, entered into contracts worth nearly $28 million to convey TiO2 trade secret technology to Pangang Group companies. Liew received millions of dollars of proceeds from these contracts. The proceeds were wired through the United States, Singapore, and ultimately back into several bank accounts in the PRC in the names of relatives of Christina Liew. Liew, USAPTI, and another individual obtained and sold DuPont’s TiO2 trade secrets to the Pangang Group companies for more than $20 million. Liew filed a false income tax return for his company, Performance Group (a predecessor company to USAPTI) for calendar years 2006, 2007, and 2008 and for USAPTI in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Liew made false statements and a false oath in connection with filing for bankruptcy for Performance Group in 2009.
Former New Orleans Mayor Sentenced for Conspiracy, Bribery, Honest Services Wire Fraud, Money Laundering and Tax Violations
On July 9, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana, C. Ray Nagin, a resident of Frisco, Texas, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, ordered to pay $84,264 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and forfeit $501,200. On Feb. 12, 2014, Nagin was found guilty by jury trial of conspiracy, bribery, honest services wire fraud, money laundering and tax violations. According to court documents, beginning around June 2004, and continuing until around Jan. 18, 2013, Nagin, a former mayor of New Orleans, defrauded the City of New Orleans and its citizens of his honest services through a bribery and kickback scheme. Nagin used his public office and his official capacity to provide favorable treatment to businesses and individuals providing him with bribery and kickback payoffs. In addition, Nagin filed income tax returns for the years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, where he knowingly reported false incomes for those tax years.
Former South Carolina Pastor Sentenced
On July 9, 2014, in Florence, South Carolina, Archie Larue Evans was sentenced 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,763,339 in restitution for mail fraud, conspiracy to structure transactions with a financial institution and money laundering. Evidence presented at the sentencing hearing established that Evans was the pastor of a church located in Conway, South Carolina and also owned Gold & Silver, LLC. Beginning in 2004, members of the church congregation and others entered into investment contracts with Evans and Gold & Silver, LLC, which guaranteed the investors higher interest payments than the rate being paid by financial institutions. From January 2009 to October 2011, Evans was involved in a Ponzi scheme and hid the fact that he had lost or spent the money invested with him by paying investors what he claimed to be their earned interest payments using funds he received from new investors. Evans continued to collect money from investors and caused losses of more than $2,500,000. From May 2010 until October 2011, Evans was also involved in a conspiracy with others to structure currency deposits with two banks so that Evans’ conspirators’ income would not be reported.
Man Sentenced to Prison for Laundering More Than $1.5 Million in Scheme to Steal Waste Vegetable Oil
On July 8, 2014, in Baltimore, Maryland, Anthony Jean-Claude, of Odenton, Maryland was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $1,586,747. Jean-Claude pleaded guilty to laundering over $1.5 million in connection with a scheme to steal waste vegetable oil. According to his plea agreement, from May through October 2010, Jean-Claude and a friend stole waste vegetable oil from restaurants in Maryland and Virginia, stored the stolen oil at a warehouse and then sold the oil to out-of-state oil companies. The proceeds of these transactions were directed back to Jean-Claude through a bank account in the name of Rafxcel Services, held by Jean-Claude and another individual. From January 5, 2012 through October 1, 2012, approximately $1,586,747 was deposited in the Rafxcel account for the sale of waste vegetable oil to companies in Maryland, Pennsylvania and elsewhere. The operations manager at the facility received checks from Jean-Claude in the name of the manager’s wife, which were drawn on the Rafxcel business account. Jean-Claude directed the manager to cash the checks, use a portion of the cash for the operations of the facility, and give the remainder of the cash back to Jean-Claude.
West Virginia Resident Sentenced for Role in Nigerian Fraud Scheme
On July 8, 2014, in Abingdon, Virginia, Audrey Elaine Elrod, of Bluefield, W.Va., was sentenced to 52 months in prison. Elrod previously pleaded guilty to one count of structuring transactions to avoid reporting requirements and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. At sentencing, Elrod testified that an individual who identified himself as “Duke McGregor” befriended her on Facebook. “Duke” eventually asked her to send money to his friend, “Sinclair,” in Nigeria. Over time, “Duke” caused hundreds of thousands of dollars to be sent to accounts controlled by Elrod. These amounts were unwittingly sent to Elrod by victims of a fraud scheme. Elrod then structured the money out of her accounts, keeping the amounts below $10,000 to avoid the filing of currency transaction reports. She then sent the money by Western Union and MoneyGram to accounts in Nigeria. Elrod played an important role in the scheme because using her accounts disguised from the victims the fact that their money was ending up in Nigeria. Between March 2012 and July 2013, Elrod received $446,927 in wire transfers into bank accounts she controlled. Between July 2012 and July 2013, Elrod structured $411,411 in cash transactions in an effort to hide her activity from the government. Elrod was arrested on federal charges on April 15, 2013. After the Court released her on bond, Elrod continued to receive and send money as part of the fraud scheme. She then fled to Charlotte, North Carolina, and continued the scheme there.
Medical Device Inventor Sentenced on Tax Charges
On July 7, 2014, in San Jose, California, Ashvin Desai was sentenced to six months in prison and six months and one day of home confinement for concealing more than $8 million in foreign bank accounts. In addition, Desai was assessed by the IRS to pay a penalty of $14,229,744 for failing to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs). Desai, a medical device manufacturer, was convicted by jury in October 2013, for failing to report his family’s foreign bank accounts on tax returns and FBARs. Desai also failed to disclose more than $1.2 million in interest income generated by these accounts between 2007 and 2009. According to the evidence presented in court, Desai controlled several foreign bank accounts at HSBC in India and Dubai, including accounts held in the name of his wife and adult children. Desai funded these accounts by mailing checks from the United States and by transferring money from other undeclared bank accounts in Singapore and the United Kingdom to his family’s accounts in India. Desai also sold medical devices abroad, and, on at least one occasion, directed that his customer wire funds directly to his undeclared HSBC India account. Desai’s deposits into his foreign accounts also far exceeded the income he disclosed on his tax returns each year. In 2008, for example, he deposited nearly $1.1 million into foreign accounts while only reporting income of $115,810 on his tax return.
Maryland Man Sentenced for Defrauding SBA and IRS
On July 2, 2014, in Greenbelt, Maryland, Vernon J. Smith III, of Edgewater, was sentenced to 42 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $7,033,844 in restitution and forfeiture. Smith pleaded guilty on March 28, 2014 to conspiring to defraud the United States in connection with schemes to fraudulently seek federal contracts under a Small Business Administration (SBA) program and to defraud the IRS. According to court, Smith admitted that he conspired to defraud the SBA by directing a controlled company, Platinum One Contracting, Inc., to submit a fraudulent application and false annual updates for certification in an SBA program. As a result, Platinum received more than $52 million in contracts from the federal government to which it was not entitled. Smith and his wife Georgia Smith transferred millions of dollars from Platinum for personal uses such as gambling, lavish vacations and limousine transportation. They also transferred money from Platinum to credit card companies to pay for personal expenses that Vernon and Georgia Smith charged to Platinum’s corporate credit cards. The Smiths signed false corporate and personal tax returns for 2005 and 2006. The cost of goods sold and payments to contractors reported on the corporate returns were false because almost all of that money was paid to, and for the benefit of, Georgia and Vernon Smith at casinos. Georgia Smith pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false tax returns and will be sentenced at a later date.
Two Company Presidents Sentenced in Bribery Scheme
On June 27, 2014, in San Diego, California, the presidents of two government contracting companies, as well as the companies themselves, were sentenced for bribing an individual at Camp Pendleton in exchange for millions of dollars in construction and service contracts at Camp Pendleton and other federal facilities. Hugo Hernandez Alonso, president of Hugo Alonso, Inc. (HAI), was sentenced to 12 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined almost $127,000. His company was sentenced to five years of probation. Bayani Yabut Abueg, Jr., president of MBR Associates, Inc. (MBRA), was sentenced to six months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $366,140 and ordered to pay $105,025 in restitution to the IRS. His company was sentenced to five years of probation. According to court documents, the bribes were made in connection with the awarding of at least six government construction and service contracts from 2008 to 2011. In addition, Alonso, Abueg and their respective companies pleaded guilty to soliciting and accepting kickbacks from subcontractors in relation to government contracts awarded to Alonso and Abueg’s companies. Abueg admitted to filing a false federal income tax return for 2010 that failed to report over $268,000 in illegal kickbacks. Between 2008 and 2011, Abueg solicited, received, and accepted over $539,000 kickbacks from various subcontractors.
Former Maine Resident Sentenced for Bank Fraud and Tax Evasion
On June 26, 2014, in Portland, Maine, Walter Scott Fox, formerly of Cumberland, and now of Canton, Georgia, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised
release and ordered to pay over $9,500,000 in restitution. Fox pleaded guilty on Feb. 4, 2014 to bank fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, from 1995 until 2011, Fox
used his position as a bank loan officer to originate or authorize over $14,000,000 in fraudulent loans and lines of credit using the identities of four real individuals, without their
knowledge or consent. He used over $5,800,000 of the fraudulent proceeds to keep the loans current and prevent the detection of his scheme. He used almost $8,200,000 for
personal expenses including to pay for his children’s educations and family vacations, and to support his business, “The Boathouse.” Fox failed to report receiving any of this income
to the IRS.
Tax Attorney Sentenced for Failing to Report Income
On June 18, 2014, in San Francisco, California, James P. Kleier was sentenced to 12 months in custody for his failure to file tax returns for 2008-2010. According to his plea agreement, Kleier, a practicing tax attorney and partner at Preston, Gates, & Ellis, LLP, from 1999 through 2005, and associate at Reed Smith, LLP, from 2005 through 2010, failed to report any income he earned from 1999 through 2010. For the tax years 2008, 2009 and 2010, Kleier earned over $1.3 million. He was ordered to pay $650,993 in past-due taxes to the government for 2003, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Role in Advance Fee Scheme
On June 16, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Shayne Fowler, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay 26,497,573 in restitution. Fowler previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to court documents, Fowler acted as a right-hand man to Andrew Bogdanoff, the founder and chairman of Remington Financial Group (later renamed Remington Capital). Fowler participated in an advance fee fraud scheme that defrauded more than 800 victims out of more than $10,000,000. Between 2005 and 2011, Fowler, and his co-defendants, fraudulently induced hundreds of people to pay Remington fees in excess of $10,000 a piece, based on false representations that Remington had lenders and/or investors ready to provide financing for the victims’ commercial projects. After a customer paid Remington’s fee, Remington employees were instructed to find problems with the projects so that Remington could blame its failure to provide financing on the victim. On Mar. 27, 2014, Andrew Bogdanoff was sentenced to 220 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $27,012,713 in restitution for his role in the scheme.
California Man Sentenced on Tax Charges
On June 12, 2014, in San Francisco, California, Ali Vaziri was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and $116,703 in restitution. Vaziri pleaded guilty on Feb. 3, 2014, to four counts of willfully subscribing a false income tax return. According to the plea agreement, Vaziri submitted false tax returns from 2005 through 2008, causing losses to the IRS and proportionate gains to him in excess of $100,000. Specifically, on his 2005 through 2008 tax returns, Vaziri substantially and falsely inflated his business expenses, causing a tax loss of $116,703. In total, Vaziri was responsible for additional interest and penalties related to those tax losses and had a total due to the IRS of at least $268,568.
Owner of New Jersey Debit Card Business Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On June 12, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, Richard Jackowitz, of Warwick, New York, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release. Jackowitz was also ordered to pay $319,940 in restitution to the government and a fine of $4,000. Jackowitz previously pleaded guilty to two counts of filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Jackowitz owned and operated Branded Marketing, a Haskell, New Jersey company, that sold debit cards. For the 2007 and 2008 tax years, Jackowitz had unreported income from his company of $105,512 and $359,677, respectively.
Law Firm Paralegal Sentenced in Mail Fraud and Tax Evasion Scheme
On June 12, 2013, in Oakland, California, Ana Lissa Reyes was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $327,795 in restitution to victims and $67,448 in restitution to the IRS. Reyes pleaded guilty on April 17, 2014, to mail fraud and tax evasion. According to the plea agreement, Reyes worked as a secretary, office manager, and paralegal for a Bay Area law firm. From about 2006 through June 2011, Reyes, without authorization, settled claims without the knowledge of the law firm or its clients, and stole the settlement proceeds. Reyes admitted to engaging clients without the law firm’s knowledge and to stealing their retainer fee payments. Reyes created a bogus company, “Lincoln Litigation,” to correspond with clients, and to defraud them into believing that their cases were ongoing. She embezzled a total of $327,795 from the law firm and its clients. In addition, Reyes under-reported her income for the calendar years 2006 through 2011. For each of those tax years, Reyes knew her joint taxable income was substantially in excess of the amount stated on the return, resulting in additional tax due and owing to the United States.
New Jersey Man Sentenced for Exchanging More Than $2.5 Million in Snap/Food Stamp Benefits for Cash
On June 5, 2014, in Camden, New Jersey, Alexander D. Vargas, of Camden, was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,791,430 in restitution. Vargas previously pleaded guilty to stealing U.S. Government monies during a scheme in which he purchased Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps) for approximately 50 cents on the dollar at the local grocery store he managed in Camden. According to court documents, from January 2012 through December 2012, Vargas managed a small store in Camden that was authorized to accept SNAP benefits. In his application to participate in SNAP, the owner estimated that the store would generate receipts of approximately $280,000 annually, or an average of $23,333 per month. From February 2012 through November 2012, the SNAP redemptions were more than $2.8 million greater than the estimates. Law enforcement agents verified the fraudulent exchange of SNAP benefits for cash.
Utah Businessman Sentenced for Wire and Tax Fraud
On June 3, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Christopher C. Harris, of St. George, Utah, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $705,000 in restitution. Harris pleaded guilty to wire fraud and willfully failing to file federal income tax returns. According to court documents, Harris was the owner and operator of a commodities distribution business under the name of Revolution Holdings, Inc. located in St. George, Utah. Through Revolution Holdings, Inc., Harris purportedly supplied commodities of all kinds all over the world by obtaining and arranging for shipping of the commodities. Harris conducted business by, among other things, entering into contracts with customers and having the customers wire money into his personal accounts. From about July 2008 to about July 2009, Harris defrauded DJD International Solutions, LLC and American Quality Importers, LLC who were trying to purchase large quantities of cement. In order to obtain money from them, Harris made intentionally false and fraudulent representations including telling these companies he had purchased and delivered large shipments of cement to prior customers when he had not. Harris told them that he owned a large quantity of cement when he did not, and he sent the companies fraudulent documents purporting to be from third parties indicating that he had fulfilled large-scale cement contracts in the past and had arranged shipping vessels to transport cement when he had not.
Ohio Man Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Income Tax Refunds
On June 3, 2014, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Michael Bartlett was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $607,602 in restitution. Bartlett pleaded guilty to filing false claims for federal income tax refunds. According to court documents, between 2008 and 2011, Bartlett prepared and filed false joint individual federal income tax returns. The income tax returns included false Forms W-2, which claimed that Bartlett was employed by a business services company. Bartlett had formerly worked at that business services company from 2002 through 2005, but he did not work for them from 2008 through 2011. Each of the 2008 through 2011 income tax returns falsely claimed that Bartlett earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in wage income and falsely claimed that Bartlett had large amounts of federal income taxes withheld, entitling him to the false income tax refunds.
Mississippi Man Sentenced for Attempting to Evade Taxes
On June 2, 2014, in Gulfport, Mississippi, Jeffrey Jerome Isabell was sentenced to seven months in prison and six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring and two years of supervised release. Isabell was also ordered to pay $76,953 in restitution and a $3,000 fine. Isabell pleaded guilty on March 19, 2014 to attempting to evade income taxes. According to court documents, beginning on or about Jan. 12, 2011, Isabell prepared a false and fraudulent tax return for 2010 that stated that his taxable income for that year was $13,372 and that the amount of tax due was $134. In reality, Isabell’s taxable income was actually $81,820, upon which the tax due was $26,406.
California Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion
On June 2, 2014, in Riverside, California, Pablo Javier Moran, Jr., was sentenced to 21 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $194,791 in restitution to the IRS. Moran pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2013, to one count of tax evasion for the calendar year 2008. According to the information entered in court records, beginning on or about Jan. 1, 2008 and continuing through on or about April 15, 2009, in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, Moran, a former partner in an accounting firm, misused a client’s credit card and used checks drawn on the same client’s checking account to pay for his own personal expenses. Moran then failed to report the embezzled funds on his personal U.S. individual income tax return.
Former United States Postal Service Employee Sentenced for Bribery, Fraud and Tax Offenses
On May 30, 2014, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Robert Giulietti was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Giulietti was also ordered to pay $882,064 in restitution and $291,026 in back taxes, penalties and interest. On Feb. 7, 2014, Giulietti pleaded guilty to one count of bribery of a public official, one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Giulietti was a Facilities Project Manager for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Giulietti’s duties included recommending and selecting facilities improvement contractors, reviewing and approving bids received from those contractors for USPS work, certifying the completion of work by contractors and approving payment authorizations. Giulietti admitted that he accepted approximately $89,000 from two contractors to direct inflated USPS facilities construction contracts to them. Also, in approximately September 2009, Giulietti formed MGC LLC to do business with the USPS on projects on which he worked. Operating MGC from his USPS office in Windsor, Giulietti used his position to direct USPS contracts to MGC, to approve MGC’s work and to authorize payment to MGC for work. Giulietti directed more than 150 USPS facility projects to MGC, causing a loss to the USPS of approximately $982,064. Giulietti filed false federal income tax returns for the 2008 through 2011 tax years by fraudulently deducting payments from MGC to members of his family, and by not reporting the corrupt payments that he received. Giulietti was also ordered to forfeit a property, a vehicle and approximately $740,000 that was seized from bank accounts.
After 13 Years as a Fugitive, Former Doctor Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On May 28, 2014, in Houston, Texas, Steven Louis Price was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $80,603 in restitution to the IRS. The sentence was enhanced after the court found he had obstructed the administration of justice and that his criminal activity involved workmen’s compensation fraud. Price, a former doctor who was a fugitive for over 13 years, pleaded guilty Dec. 19, 2013. According to court documents, the investigation established Price willfully made materially false statements in his 1992 federal income tax return by understating gross income derived from his medical practice. Price willfully understated Schedule C gross receipts derived from his medical practice on his federal income tax return by at least $80,603. He received the majority of this income from attorneys and insurance companies paying worker’s compensation or automobile accident claims. In order to conceal this income, Price cashed many of the checks and used the proceeds to purchase cashier’s checks. In addition, he had several rental properties and accepted only cash in payments so as to avoid reporting the income to the IRS.
Former Oil Company Human Resources Manager Sentenced for Embezzlement and Tax Crimes
On May 28, 2014, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, James Rhea Cooley, of Tulsa, was sentenced to 55 months in prison and ordered to pay $595,107 in restitution to Federal Insurance; $105,049 to the Newfield insurance company; $70,300 to ConAgra Foods; and $226,089 to the IRS. Cooley was ordered to pay a money judgment in the amount of $693,300. On Nov. 19, 2013, Cooley pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully making and subscribing a false federal income tax return. Cooley worked as the regional human resources manager at Newfield Exploration Mid-Continent Inc., where he was authorized to approve invoices for services provided to the company. According to court documents, from August 2008 to January 2011, Cooley devised and executed a scheme to defraud his then-employer. In 2008, Cooley created the fictitious consulting company, Total HR Service and Consulting, created a website and opened a bank account for that company. Cooley would then falsify invoices for services that had not been performed, submit them to Newfield and deposited the payment check into the fraudulent consulting company’s bank account. Cooley then spent the embezzled funds for personal expenses. After being terminated for the false invoice scheme in February 2011, Cooley obtained a similar job with ConAgra Corporation in Council Bluff, Iowa, where from April 2012 until September 2012, he committed the same crime after he had already admitted the Newfield fraud to federal investigators and was supposedly cooperating with them.
Final Defendant Sentenced in $5 Million Ponzi Scheme
On May 23, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, Stanley W. Anderson, of Arvada, was sentenced to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5,226,300 in restitution. Anderson's co-defendants Pastor Charles Lawrence Kennedy, Jr. of Tampa, Florida, and Edwin Alexander Smith of Denver, Colorado, have been sentenced to 12 months and 30 months in prison, respectively. According to court documents, beginning in October 2005 and continuing through December 2008, Anderson, Smith, Kennedy and others solicited investors' funds for use in an investment program where significant profits would supposedly be generated through the trading of European medium term notes (MTN program), when in fact, the MTN program did not exist. Furthermore, they represented that their MTN program would pay nearly immediate returns in amounts ranging from 200 to 1000 percent. They raised approximately $5 million dollars from approximately 100 investors nationwide over the course of the scheme. The investors' funds were not used to trade in financial instruments, but were instead misappropriated by Anderson, Smith and Kennedy for unauthorized uses. Investors, with the exception of those who received Ponzi scheme-like payments, that is, money taken from one investor to compensate another, lost their total investments. Anderson and Smith generally commingled and deposited investors' funds into bank accounts they controlled. Anderson was the lead person for the investment program and managed the daily operations of the program, made key decisions as it related to the use of investor funds, handled investor communications, and oversaw the relationship with various promoters responsible for soliciting investors. Anderson diverted thousands of dollars in investor funds for personal use including, house payments, meals and entertainment, personal judgments and salary payments for his children.
Owner of Golf Course Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On May 21, 2014, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Roger Martin Pedley was sentenced 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $489,623 in restitution. Pedley pleaded guilty on Aug. 12, 2013, to four counts of tax evasion. According to his plea agreement, Pedley admitted to owning and operating the Pine Ridge Golf Course in Motley, as well as engaging in other business ventures. These ventures generated considerable cash income. Pedley failed to declare the cash as income on his personal income tax returns, filed jointly with his wife, for tax years 2006 through 2009. In addition, Pedley engaged in transactions with the cash at various banks in ways that avoided triggering the banks’ federal currency reporting requirements.
Former Corporate Senior Vice President of Operations Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On May 21, 2014, in Trenton, New Jersey, John Annetta, of Marlboro, was sentenced to 20 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Annetta previously pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. According to court document, between 2006 and 2011, Annetta worked as the senior vice president of operations at an independent wholesale food distributor in the New York City and New Jersey metropolitan areas. During that time he was given $1,648,085 from two people he met in the course of his employment. He failed to report this money as taxable income on his tax returns for the calendar years 2006 through 2011, resulting in a tax loss to the government of $536,530.
Former Coca-Cola Employee Sentenced in Fraud Scheme
On May 19, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia, Jeffrey David Shamp was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $411,550 in restitution to The Coca-Cola Company. On Feb. 27, 2014, Shamp, of Cincinnati, Ohio, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. According to court documents, Shamp worked for The Coca-Cola Company from approximately July 2002 to November 2011, most recently as a Senior National Account Executive based in Massachusetts. In his position, Shamp was authorized to order American Express (AMEX) gift checks to be used as part of a sales incentive program for Coca-Cola’s customers. From approximately November 2005 through September 2011, Shamp fraudulently obtained AMEX gift checks under the false pretense that the checks would be used as part of Coca-Cola’s sales incentive program, when in fact Shamp used them to pay for over $400,000 in personal expenses.
Colorado Man Sentenced for Defrauding Gold Coin Investors
On May 15, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, James P. Burg, formerly of Fairplay, Colorado, was sentenced to 90 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay just under $2.5 million in restitution to the approximately 40 victims of his crime. Burg pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2013 to mail fraud and failing to file an income tax return. According to court documents, starting in October 2007 and continuing through January 2012, Burg defrauded customers that ordered coins from businesses known as Superior Discount Coins and Gold Run Investments. He obtained money from those customers by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises. Burg took and received $2,464,099 from customers that ordered coins that he failed to deliver as promised. In addition, for calendar years 2003 through 2009, Burg failed to file income tax returns with the IRS. During these years, Burg generated a gross income of over $5.5 million for which he failed to pay $1,100,334 in income taxes.
Former Financial Officer of Equipment Company Sentenced for Filing False Corporate and Personal Income Tax Returns
On May 14, 2014, in Camden, New Jersey, Frank A. Dominico, of Linwood, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $840,321 in restitution. Dominico previously pleaded guilty to filing false income tax returns. According to court documents, for each tax year between 2004 and 2008, Dominico filed returns which reported only a portion of his income and, in some years, overstated his itemized deductions. Between 2004 and 2009, Dominico worked as a financial officer for General Glass and prepared their corporate income tax returns. During that time he was promoted from treasurer to president of the company. Dominico admitted that for the 2004 tax year, he listed his compensation from General Glass as $51,334 on his personal tax return and $89,822 on General Glass’s corporate federal income tax return. In fact, Dominico failed to report an additional $722,000 in compensation for the 2004 tax year, which resulted in a tax loss to the United States of $129,710.
New Jersey Man Sentenced for Scheme to Defraud 17 Charities and Non-Profit Organizations
On May 12, 2014, in Newark, New Jersey, Gregory Ciccone, of Woodland Park, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $768,103 in restitution and forfeiture of $267,788. Ciccone previously pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Ciccone was the owner and president of GAC Consulting Group LLC (GAC). GAC contracted with charities and non-profit organizations and arranged for high-end prizes to be auctioned off to bidders during fund-raising events. Ciccone convinced the charities and non-profit organizations to pay GAC both an up-front retainer and commission fees based upon his ability to provide certain prizes. Ciccone not only did not deliver the vast majority of the prizes offered to his victims, he never had the ability to do so. From October 2006 through April 2010, Ciccone’s actions caused more than $768,000 in losses to at least 17 different charities and non-profit organizations. After his Oct. 26, 2010, arrest, Ciccone filed a false 2009 tax return on May 13, 2011, in which he failed to list certain retainer fees and commissions received from his victims, as well as gambling winnings.
Minnesota Woman Sentenced for Filing a False Tax Return
On May 12, 2014, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Melanie Lynn Bonine was sentenced to 36 months in prison. Bonine pleaded guilty in June 2013 to filing a false tax return for the year 2009. According to her plea agreement, Bonine falsely reported that she had $167,944 of total income for the 2009 tax year. Bonine willfully failing to report over $700,000 in additional income, which she received from the 2009 sale of warrants for common shares of Bixby Energy Systems. During court proceedings it was noted that Bonine had been involved in Bixby Energy Systems for many years, and had misappropriated company money even during years when it was clearly insolvent and its purported business badly foundering. Bonine is the daughter of Robert A. Walker, founder of Bixby Energy Systems, who, on March 5, 2014 was convicted of four counts of mail fraud, nine counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of witness tampering, and three counts of tax evasion. Walker’s sentencing hearing for these offenses has not yet been scheduled.
Bank Employee Sentenced for Embezzling from Senior Citizens’ Accounts
On May 8, 2014 in, Dayton, Ohio, Diane Elizabeth Niehaus, of Sugarcreek Township, Ohio, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Restitution to the victims of her embezzlement and to the IRS will be determined at a later date. Niehaus pleaded guilty on Sept. 19, 2013 to one count each of embezzlement, money laundering and filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, Niehaus managed the Union Savings Bank branch in Centerville between 2007 and 2010. Using her position with the bank, she methodically targeted and stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from her elderly customers. To prevent detection of her embezzlement, she used a host of deceptive tactics including creating fictitious gift letters and fraudulent powers of attorney, and engaging in complicated and layered financial transactions to conceal her theft. Niehaus frequently converted the money into cashiers’ checks or official checks that she then negotiated, or caused to be negotiated. Niehaus illegally earned thousands of dollars through this embezzlement scheme, and she failed to report this fraudulently-obtained income on her federal income tax returns.
Colorado Business Owner Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On May 8, 2014, in Denver, Colorado, Abdelhamid M. Horany was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Horany pleaded guilty in February 2014 to one count of tax evasion with respect to his 2007 individual income taxes. According to court documents, Horany owned and operated Euphrates Pizza, doing business as Famous Pizza, in Denver from at least 2003 through 2007. He willfully under-reporting the income he received from his business by approximately $175,000 on his 2007 income tax return, which resulted in Horany under-reporting his tax due and owing by over $60,000. In total, for tax years 2005 through 2007, Horany under-reported his tax due and owing by more than $145,000. In addition, Horany made false statements to an IRS revenue agent regarding his tax liabilities.
Ponzi-Scheme Conspirator Sentenced for Defrauding Investors
On May 5, 2014, in Trenton, New Jersey, Aaron Glucksman, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced to 52 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $612,300 in restitution to victims. Glucksman pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of transacting in criminal proceeds. According to court documents, Glucksman and others defrauded victim-investors referred to as “the Florida condominium victims” out of $1.5 million. Glucksman used fraudulent e-mails to pretend to be an attorney named “Arthur Golden” who purportedly was handling the closing of the transaction, and posed as the supposed property manager of the condominiums.
New York Woman Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns
On May 5, 2014, in Buffalo, New York, Linda Rakonczay, of Middleport, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $93,999 restitution to the IRS and $499,563 to Orleans Community Health. Rakonczay was previously convicted of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Rakonczay worked as a payroll coordinator for Orleans Community Health in Medina, New York. Beginning in 2001 and continuing through 2012, Rakonczay prepared and submitted reports to the organization’s bank instructing the bank to electronically transfer money from the corporate bank account to her personal bank account. The amount transferred from the organization’s bank account to the defendant’s account totaled $499,563. For tax years 2007 through 2012, Rakonczay failed to report such income and failed to pay federal taxes to the IRS.
Florida Attorney Sentenced in Connection with Ponzi Scheme
On May 1, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Douglas L. Bates, of Parkland, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. Bates previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to the factual stipulation filed in support of the guilty plea, while Bates was a partner in the Law Offices of Koppel and Bates, he assisted Scott W. Rothstein in defrauding certain clients of RRA by drafting false and fraudulent opinion letters claiming to represent an investment group which had a business plan to invest in the confidential settlements which formed the basis for the Ponzi scheme when, in fact, he did not. Bates also claimed that he represented a plaintiff who had entered into one of the confidential settlement agreements when, in fact, he did not. Bates assisted Rothstein by arranging to have representatives of an investment group falsely informed that numerous legal cases were referred by Koppel & Bates to RRA when, in fact, they were not.
Georgia Dentist Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On April 29, 2014, in Atlanta, Ga., Dr. Dayo Obebe, of Muscogee County, Georgia, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $189,661 in restitution. Obebe pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion on Feb. 6, 2014. According to court documents, Obebe is a dentist licensed in Georgia and Alabama, where he operated the Moon Road Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in Columbus, Georgia, and the Brent Dental Dentistry in Brent, Alabama. In 2004, Obebe began intentionally concealing money he earned from patients who paid with credit cards from his accountants and the IRS by placing credit card payments into a separate bank account from cash and check receipts. Consequently, Obebe intentionally under-reported his total income from the dental practices on his 2004, 2005 and 2006 federal income tax returns by more than $500,000. During an IRS audit of Obebe’s tax return, he lied to the IRS revenue agent conducting the audit when he stated that the dental practices did not accept credit cards as a form of payment for dental services.
Pastor of Community Bible Church Sentenced for Bilking Congregation
On April 28, 2014, in San Diego, Calif., Barry Minkow, former San Diego Community Bible Church (SDCBC) pastor, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for embezzling more than $3 million from his own parishioners and then concealing the funds from the IRS. Restitution will be determined at a later date. Minkow pleaded guilty in January 2014 to fraud charges, admitting to a litany of improper conduct spanning a decade, including opening unauthorized bank accounts on behalf of the church, forging signatures on the SDCBC checks, using funds drawn on legitimate church accounts for his personal benefit, and charging unauthorized personal expenses on church credit cards. Minkow also confessed to diverting SDCBC member donations for his own benefit and embezzling money intended as church donations. Specifically, Minkow tricked a widower into making a $75,000 donation for a hospital in the Sudan to honor his wife after she died of cancer. Only there was no hospital, and Minkow pocketed the money. He also admitted, among others things, that he stole $300,000 from a widowed grandmother who is trying to raise her teenage granddaughter.
Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On April 25, 2014, in Tulsa, Okla., James Lamar Gresham was sentenced to 60 months in prison for one count each of bank fraud and tax evasion. At the time of the scheme, Gresham worked as a controller for a company where he had access to financial books and records, and was familiar with the company’s bank accounts. According to court documents, from July 30, 2007 to May 2011, as part of the scheme, Gresham would forge company checks made payable in his name, then deposit the checks into a personal bank account. Gresham forged more than 548 company checks and obtained $1,583,157 from the company’s bank accounts. In addition, during the 2010 calendar year, Gresham failed to report the additional income gained from the scheme to the IRS, evading a total of $511,627 in taxes owed to the United States.
Couple Sentenced for Embezzlement and Check Kiting Scheme
On April 24, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo., Laura Dejong, and her husband, Craig Dejong, both of Liberty, were sentenced in separate appearances for a nearly $2.7 million embezzlement and check kiting scheme and for filing a false tax return. Laura Dejong was sentenced to 120 months in prison. Craig Dejong was sentenced to 30 months in prison. The court also ordered the Dejongs to pay a total of $3,300,718 in restitution to their victims, including $2,679,227 to Kansas City Screw Products, Inc., $482,711 to the IRS and $138,780 to two financial institutions. On June 18, 2013, Laura Dejong pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and both of the Dejongs pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, from January 2003 to November 2011, Laura Dejong embezzled $2,679,227 from her employer, Kansas City Screw Products, Inc. As a secretary and bookkeeper for approximately 23 years, Dejong forged checks drawn on two company bank accounts. She also engaged in a check kiting scheme between the company’s two banks in order to falsely inflate the company’s bank account balances, thereby increasing the amount of money she could embezzle. Her check kiting began in late June 2011. The total amount of checks written by Laura Dejong to cause the check kite increased from $44,000 in June 2011 to $847,000 in November 2011. The Dejongs also used the stolen money to purchase various luxury items. As part of their pleas, the Dejongs signed a stipulation forfeiting their home in Liberty and all of the purchased luxury items. The forfeited funds will be used to provide restitution to the victims of their crimes. The Dejongs admitted that they filed joint tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2010 but did not declare any of the embezzled money as income.
Former Army Contracting Officials Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On April 24, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas, Velma I. Salinas-Nix and her husband, Kenneth H. Nix, both of Boerne, Texas, were sentenced to 20 months and 30 months in prison, respectively. On Jan. 22, 2014, Kenneth Nix pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false federal income tax return. Velma Salinas-Nix pleaded guilty on Jan. 23, 2014, to one count of filing a false tax return and one count of making false statements. The Nixes were each ordered to pay $153,248 in restitution. According to court documents, Velma Salinas-Nix was the Deputy Director and Alternate Principal Assistant Responsible for Contracting for ACA - Americas in San Antonio with influence over, and responsibility for, the disbursement of millions of dollars in Army funds for the procurement of goods and services. During parts of 2004 and 2005, Kenneth Nix also worked for the Army as the Chief of Contracting for the U.S. Military Group in Bogota, Colombia, and during parts of 2008 and 2009, as Chief of Staff of the Mission and Installation Contracting Command in San Antonio. From 2000 through at least 2009, Kenneth Nix had a working relationship with the president and CEO of a federal contractor. During this period, Kenneth Nix received at least $500,000 in gross income for federal contracting related work he performed. Kenneth Nix directed that he be kept off the company books and he received payment in multiple forms, including cash, blank money orders, checks, home improvements of the couple’s residences, paid housing and parking, plumbing supplies and use of a debit card. In at least two instances, Velma Salinas-Nix deposited blank money orders for her husband from the company into her bank account. In order to conceal the true source of the money orders, she falsely wrote the name and initials of her mother in the remitter field. The Nixes also received gifts of substantial value, between 2000 and 2009, knowing that the person and the company had received and were seeking Army contracts and that Kenneth Nix worked for that company. In October 2009, Velma Salinas-Nix participated in a voluntary interview with federal agents, during which she knowingly provided false information by denying her husband’s receipt of income from the company, the existence of large money orders provided by the company and her receipt of gifts from the person during the relevant period. For tax years 2000 through 2004, and 2006 through 2008, the Nixes willfully filed false joint federal income tax returns omitting all income Kenneth Nix received from the company.
Former Tennessee Attorney Sentenced for Federal Tax Offense
On April 23, 2014 in Knoxville, Tenn., Johnny Dunaway, of Lafollete, Tenn., was sentenced to 12 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of unpaid taxes and interest to the IRS. Dunaway pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with filing a false tax return for the 2008 tax year. According to court documents, Dunaway admitted that his 2008 return failed to honestly reflect the business income he received from his law practice. As a result of his federal tax offense, Dunaway also consented to disbarment in October 2013.
Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Sentenced for Mail Fraud and Filing a False tax Return
On April 16, 2014, in Madison, Wis., Lori Hall, of Glidden, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Hall pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2014 to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, Hall worked as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Lakewoods Resort from Nov. 1, 1998 to Jan. 13, 2012. From January 2006 through January 2012, Hall embezzled $702,130 from the Lakewoods Villages Homeowners Association, Forest Ridges Homeowners Association, and PNE Investment Company bank accounts. Hall presented checks for signature with incorrect invoices, she altered the payee line on checks after they had been signed, and she procured an unauthorized signature stamp in the name of one of the corporate managers and used it to sign checks she prepared payable to herself. She used the embezzled funds for her own personal purposes. Hall also filed a false 2007 federal income tax return with the IRS by failing to report an additional $169,455 in embezzled income on her tax return, which led to an additional tax due and owing of $38,927.
Oregon Man Sentenced for Fraudulent Refund Scheme and Filing Retaliatory Liens Against IRS Employees
On April 16, 2014, in Eugene, Ore., Mark Timothy Ellis, of Oregon City, Ore., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $311,459 in restitution. According to court documents, Ellis made a false claim to the United States when he filed a series of fraudulent documents with the IRS, including false 1099s and false tax returns, and obtained a fraudulent refund based on those false documents. In addition, Ellis filed a false and retaliatory lawsuit and false and retaliatory liens against the IRS employees who were investigating his illegal conduct, including the special agent who was investigating him for tax fraud, as a means of retaliation and intimidation.
Business Woman Sentenced for Investor Fraud Scheme
On April 16, 2014, in Augusta, Ga., Regina M. Preetorius was sentenced to 280 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,457,374 in resitution. After a jury trial in September 2013, Preetorius was convicted of eight counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, and three counts of money laundering. Evidence presented at trial and during sentencing showed that between 2004 and 2009, Preetorius defrauded dozens of investors out of homes and over $1 million. The victims included private investors and distressed homeowners facing imminent foreclosure. Preetorius promised certain investors that that they would make enormous returns off of their investments in real estate; instead, Preetorius used the homes and money to support her lavish lifestyle.
North Carolina Attorney Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On April 15, 2014, in Charlotte, N.C., Randy Alan Carpenter, of Spruce Pine, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $507,995 in restitution to IRS. In May 2013, Carpenter pleaded guilty to making false statements on his tax returns. According to court records, Carpenter, an attorney, engineer and appraiser, received over $1.2 million in professional fees in 2005 and 2006 from his work at a failed real estate development near Spruce Pine, N.C., known as the “Villages of Penland.” As a condition of his plea agreement, Carpenter was also ordered to cooperate with the IRS in filing amended tax returns.
Hawaii Man Sentenced for Filing False Claims for Tax Refund and Filing False Liens Against Federal Officials
On April 14, 2014, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Francis E. Chandler III was sentenced to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $3,066,629 in restitution. On Feb. 11, 2013, Chandler pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false claim against the United States and one count of filing a false retaliatory lien against four government officials. According to court documents, Chandler filed a fraudulent 2007 federal income tax return seeking a $3,969,012 tax refund based on his false claim of interest income and tax withholding of $6,222,850. In April 2010, a federal grand jury indicted Chandler for filing the false claim against the United States. Shortly after his indictment and in retaliation for the performance of their official duties, Chandler knowingly filed false liens in Hawaiian public records against the property of two federal judges, the U.S. Attorney and an Assistant U.S. Attorney who were involved in the prosecution of his false claims case.
New York Man Sentenced for Money Laundering Conspiracy
On April 9, 2014, in Rochester, N.Y., Brian Campbell was sentenced to 12 months of home confinement and five years of probation. Campbell was previously convicted of conspiring to launder money. According to court documents, Campbell worked for Kenneth Griffin, a co-defendant who was convicted in May 2013, at an employment staffing business that was used to commit fraud. The fraud involved creating false invoices and other supporting documents that Campbell then sold to a series of financing companies on a weekly basis for immediate cash. When a financing company realized that it had been sold uncollectible invoices and stopped dealing with Griffin’s business, the defendants would change business names and continue the scheme with another financing company. Griffin and others involved in the conspiracy sought to conceal their ill-gotten gains, which totaled approximately $567,000, by laundering the proceeds of the fraud using anonymous debit cards. These cards were provided to lower-level employees, who were directed to go to ATMs in the Rochester area to withdraw cash and return with the money, which was shared among the co-conspirators. Kenneth Griffin was sentenced to 46 months in prison.
New Jersey Woman Sentenced for Stealing Nearly $100,000 from an Elderly Woman
On April 9, 2014, in Trenton, N.J., Shawn L. Craig, of West Orange, N.J., was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $75,663 in restitution. Craig previously pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of filing false personal federal income tax return for 2011 by not disclosing income, including money fraudulently obtained from her victim. According to court documents, in November 2010, Craig entered into a general power of attorney with the victim, an elderly woman, to serve as her attorney-in-fact. Craig was trusted to act in the victim’s best interest and to arrange for the payment of the victim’s living expenses. After gaining access to the victim’s bank accounts, Craig diverted a portion of the victim’s funds for her own benefit and the benefit of her family. At the time Craig made those purchases, the funds in the victim’s accounts consisted primarily of the victim’s Social Security benefits. In December 2010, Craig submitted an application in the victim’s name to a commercial lender for a reverse mortgage on the victim’s residence in East Orange. When the victim refused to sign a specific power of attorney permitting the closing of the reverse mortgage, Craig forged the victim’s signature on the document and presented it to the title agent. Craig used the money from the reverse mortgage to purchase items for her own benefit. In June 2011, Craig was notified that the general power of attorney had been revoked, so she transferred the victim’s funds to a new bank account. In all, Craig misused approximately $99,000 of the victim’s funds. Craig also caused a tax preparer to prepare and electronically file with the IRS a false and fraudulent personal income tax return for tax year 2011.
Florida Physician Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On April 8, 2014, in Miami Fla., Lourdes Margarita Garcia, of Pinecrest, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Garcia, a medical doctor, was convicted in January 2014 by a federal jury of conspiracy to defraud and to file false returns with the IRS and filing false returns with IRS. According to evidence presented at trial and court documents, Garcia was the owner and operator of Global Medical Group, LLC, a Sub-S Corporation, or “flow-through” entity for income tax purposes, which operated a clinic in Coral Gables. Garcia had originally been the subject of an IRS collection action for multiple years of back-taxes owed. During the collection case, the IRS learned that Garcia and her now deceased spouse were delinquent in filing income tax returns for the years 1997 through 2005. When those returns were filed in 2007, the 1997 and 2001 through 2005 returns reported $0.00 adjusted gross income, and a 2006 amended return reported less than $20,000 of adjusted gross income. At trial, during a 1997 Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, Garcia filed sworn monthly reports with the Bankruptcy Court reporting $81,000 of salaries and commissions for the months of May 1997 through October 1997. Additionally, during 2001 through 2007, Global had steadily increased its revenues from insurance payments and patient fees, from approximately $81,000 in 2001, to approximately $1.9 million in 2006 and $1.7 in 2007, but no flow-through income from Global was reported on the 2001 through 2005 individual returns of Garcia and her spouse. Their 2006 and 2007 returns omitted approximately $400,000 of insurance payments and patient fees from Global. Evidence presented at trial showed that Garcia and her spouse conspired to defraud the IRS, by impairing, obstructing and defeating its lawful functions in the ascertainment, computation and collection of federal income taxes, including by withdrawing approximately $900,000 from bank accounts, only days before an IRS Notice of Levy attached to the accounts.
Former Investment Broker Sentenced for Fraud, Money Laundering and Tax Evasion
On April 4, 2014, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Randy Beltramea, from Marion, Iowa, was sentenced to 111 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $376,488 in restitution to his victims. Beltramea, a former investment broker, pleaded guilty to making false statements to banks, defrauding investors, and evading taxes. According to the plea agreement, in 2009 and 2010, Beltramea defrauded former investors by soliciting money from them under false pretenses. In particular, Beltramea told investors that their money was to be invested in sandwich shop restaurants, when he actually used their money in his own real estate investment and for his own personal expenses. In connection with soliciting money from one of the investors, Beltramea provided the investor with a promissory note on which he forged the signature of another person who was involved in buying a restaurant. In fact, that other person did not give Beltramea permission to use or sign his name to the promissory note. Beltramea also moved some of the proceeds from the fraud into a bank account under his mother’s name for the purpose of trying to hide the source of the money and in an effort to evade taxes. The IRS had previously imposed a tax lien in excess of $320,000 against Beltramea because he had not filed tax returns or paid taxes since 2001. Finally, Beltramea obtained loans and loan extensions from two banks by providing them with false financial statements and with tax returns he falsely represented had been filed with the IRS.
North Carolina Paving Contractor Sentenced for Tax and Bank Fraud
On April 4, 2014, in Winston-Salem, N.C., Tommy Edward Clack was sentenced to 66 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,350,597 in restitution to the IRS and $20,945 in restitution to a bank he defrauded. Clack previously pleaded guilty to one count of willfully filing a false federal income tax return for 2007 and one count of knowingly making a false statement to a federally insured bank in order to obtain a mortgage loan. According to court documents, for approximately the past 10 years, Clack has been a traveling, self-employed paving contractor doing business in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Florida. Clack operated under several different business names and changed the names frequently in order to avoid scrutiny by state and federal law enforcement agencies. According to court documents, Clack significantly underreported the income from his paving business on his tax returns. From 2004 to 2007, Clack earned gross income of over $5.7 million, but reported only a fraction of it to the IRS. Clack’s returns were prepared by a professional accountant, but Clack knowingly provided her with false information on which to base his returns, and he signed his returns knowing that they significantly understated his income. Altogether, as a result of these false returns Clack underpaid his taxes by $1,350,597 for the 2004 through 2007 tax years. Clack employed a number of strategies to conceal his tax fraud. In addition to constantly changing the name of his paving company, Clack did not maintain books and records. He also dealt extensively in cash, paid his employees in cash, and structured currency transactions with his bank in amounts designed to evade the bank’s requirement to file currency transaction reports. In addition, in December 2003, Clack submitted a mortgage loan application in the name of his then-wife to a bank in Greensboro, N.C. The application sought a $640,000 loan as financing for the purchase of a $1.2 million home. As part of the loan application, Clack provided the bank with a tax return in his wife’s name for the year 2002 that claimed married filing separate status, reported adjusted gross income of $372,748. Clack claimed that this tax return had been filed with the IRS, when in fact Clack and his then-wife had filed a joint federal income tax return for 2002 that claimed that the couple had adjusted gross income of $17,656. Clack ultimately defaulted on the loan and the bank suffered a loss after foreclosing on the collateral.
Two Utah Men Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On April 1, 2014, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Larry Oral Bosh, of Nephi, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $563,672 in restitution to the IRS. According to his plea agreement, from June 2007 through October 2008, Bosh earned substantial income from Evolution Developments, LLC and Clover Creek, LLC. He willfully failed to accurately report this income to the IRS. Bosh reported $5,502 in income during 2008, under-reporting his income by $1,732,502. In a separate case, David Shawn Benson, of Ivins, Utah, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $610,467 in restitution to the IRS. According to the indictment, Benson reported $37,982 in income during 2008, under-reporting his income by $1,902,109. From June 2007 through October 2008, Benson earned substantial income from SHB Enterprises, LLC and Evolution Developments, LLC and willfully failed to report this income to the IRS.
Oregon Couple Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Charges
On March 31, 2013, in Medford, Ore., Kenneth Johnson was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $561,101 in restitution. Diana Arredondo was sentenced to 10 months in prison and ordered to pay $16,229 in restitution. Johnson pleaded guilty to tax fraud and wire fraud and Arredondo pleaded guilty to tax fraud. According to court documents, Johnson was a partner in a hotel in Central Point, Ore., and was in charge of the hotel’s daily operations and reported the hotel’s revenue to his partners in Montana. Johnson hired his girlfriend, Arredondo, as the assistant hotel manager. They operated the hotel from October 2005 through 2011. Johnson engaged in a scheme to defraud his hotel partners by providing them false information regarding the amount of cash collected by the hotel, and diverting some of the funds for his and Arredondo’s use. Over a period of time, Johnson diverted a total of about $500,000. In addition, both defendants filed fraudulent income tax returns, failing to report the money embezzled from the hotel.
Wyoming Woman Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On March 28, 2014 in Cheyenne, Wyo., Deborah D. Hill was sentenced to 37 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $172,270 in restitution to the IRS. Hill pleaded guilty on Jan. 3, 2014. According to court documents, from April 15, 2010 through April 15, 2013, Hill willfully attempted to evade and defeat a large part of income taxes due and owing to the United States government. She prepared, and caused to be prepared, false and fraudulent Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns. The combined taxable income on those returns was understated by $180,845 for the years 2009 through 2012.
Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Role in Advance Fee Scheme
On March 27, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pa., Andrew Bogdanoff was sentenced to 220 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $27,012,713 in restitution. Bogdanoff pleaded guilty on Aug. 29, 2013 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Bogdanoff was the founder and chairman of Remington Financial Group. Between 2005 and 2011, Bogdanoff and others fraudulently induced hundreds of people to pay Remington fees in excess of $10,000 a piece, based on false representations that Remington had lenders and/or investors ready to provide financing for the victims’ projects. To facilitate this fraud, the defendants issued each victim a “letter of interest,” commonly referred to as an LOI. Almost every LOI Remington issues stated that Remington had a lender or investor interested in financing the victim’s project. Remington issued an LOI to every victim even though no Remington employee had spoken to any funding source and Remington knew that it was unlikely to find funding for the project. The scheme defrauded more than 800 victims out of more than $10 million.
Colorado Man Sentenced for Running Ponzi Scheme
On March 27, 2014 in Denver, Colo., Michael B. Gale, of Littleton, Colo., was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $425,878 in restitution to his victims. Gale pleaded guilty on Dec. 19, 2013 to wire fraud and money laundering. According to court documents, beginning in February 2009, Gale individually and as Capital Management Group (CMG), fraudulently solicited and accepted at least $893,346 from nine individuals for the purpose of operating a commodity pool to trade commodity futures contracts. Gale did not register as a commodity pool operator (CPO) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, but held himself out as a CPO to investors. Gale maintained two futures trading account and represented on accounting documents that the funds on deposit were his and did not belong to any other investors or pools when in fact they were investor funds. To further the scheme, Gale lied about his past trading successes and provided investors with false documents to encourage them to invest or stay invested. Instead of investing the funds as promised, Gale took the investor funds and commingled them with his personal money and spent some of it on personal expenses. He sometimes used later investors' funds to make partial payments to previous investors and returned approximately $447,477 to investors during the course of his scheme.
Illinois Businessman Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns and Structuring
On March 25, 2014, in Urbana, Ill., Joseph Deno, of Kankakee, Ill., was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison, 12 months home confinement and ordered to forfeit $190,700. Deno has already paid $905,261 in full restitution to the IRS for unpaid income taxes, plus interest and penalties. Deno pleaded guilty on Sept. 6, 2013, to six counts of filing false tax returns and one count of structuring. According to court documents, Deno was the sole shareholder, owner and operator of ABC Disposal, Inc. From 2005 through 2010, he withheld financial records from his tax preparer. This resulted in under-reporting his company’s gross receipts and underpayment of his federal income taxes. He also structured cash withdrawals from three bank accounts to avoid a currency transaction report from being prepared by his bank and sent to federal authorities. Deno withdrew $190,700 in funds he had hidden from his accountant and the IRS in amounts just under the $10,000 threshold.
New York Woman Sentenced for Sending Bogus Payments to IRS
On March 25, 2014, in Albany, N.Y., Patricia Alfieri, of Schenectady, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $47,484 in restitution to the IRS. Alfieri pleaded guilty on Dec. 4, 2013, to mail fraud and filing a false return. According to court documents, Alfieri mailed 65 bogus checks totaling more than $3.6 million to the IRS while she was a New York State Department of Taxation and Finance employee. Alfieri’s actions caused the IRS to issue her more than $87,000 in bogus “overpayment refunds.” She also filed a false income tax return that over-reported her federal income tax withholding and fabricated home mortgage interest and real estate tax payments.
West Virginia Attorney Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On March 24, 2014, in Charleston, W.Va., Harold “Hal” Albertson was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay more than a million dollars in restitution to former clients, investors, and the IRS. Albertson previously pleaded guilty to evading over $100,000 in federal taxes. As part of his plea agreement, Albertson also admitted that he lured clients into investing money with him by promising a high rate of return. Albertson never paid the clients the high rate of return. Instead of investing their money, he used it to pay his own debts. Albertson admitted he cashed clients’ checks and used the proceeds to repay someone else.
Missouri Woman Sentenced on Tax Charges
On March 21, 2014, in St. Louis, Mo., Evelyn Silas, of Florissant, Mo., was sentenced to 15 months in prison on 13 counts of tax and fraud. According to court documents, Silas prepared 20 tax returns for friends and members of her family during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 tax years while employed full-time at the St. Louis Office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Silas added phony information about educational expenses and business income and losses to obtain tax credits for those taxpayers. In all, Silas caused more than $90,000 in tax loss. Silas kept a large percentage of the refunds generated by the fraudulent returns for herself.
New York Attorney Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On March 19, 2014, in Rochester, N.Y., Salvatore J. Marcera, Jr. was sentenced to five years of probation, including one year of home confinement, and ordered to pay $104,074 in restitution to the IRS. Marcera was previously convicted of filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, from tax years 2004 through 2007, Marcera, a sole practitioner attorney in Rochester, understated the gross receipts of his law practice on the Schedule C of each return. The total of the unreported gross receipts for the four tax years was approximately $356,353.
Massachusetts Tax Assessor Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On March 19, 2014, in Boston, Mass., Kevin Foley, of Needham, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, two years of supervised release and ordered to pay $115,500 in restitution to the IRS. In July 2013, Foley pleaded guilty to three counts of tax evasion. According to court documents, Foley was the elected Chairman of the Needham Tax Assessors Office. Foley misappropriated approximately $492,000 in funds belonging to an elderly Needham resident and failed to file taxes reflecting not only the misappropriated funds, but also the income he legally earned from the Town of Needham for tax years 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Nevada Businessman Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On March 19, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nev., Robert E. D’Errico was sentenced to six months in prison, six months home confinement, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $158,076 in restitution to the IRS. D’Errico pleaded guilty on Nov. 18, 2013, to tax evasion and admitted that he did not report additional cash income of $453,322 for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008. According to the plea agreement, D’Errico owned Sunset Collision Center in Henderson, Nev. In 2009, he began listing the business for sale on small business listing sites and with small business brokers. During a meeting with a potential buyer, D’Errico stated that he stopped accepting checks and was taking cash deductibles from customers, as well as selling excess inventory for cash. D’Errico also stated that he kept journals of the cash generated “off the books,” retrieved them from home, and showed how the journals and notations on client files corresponded to potential tax-free cash income. The cash D’Errico received was not reported on his official financial statements or submitted to his accountant for the preparation of his taxes.
Former Attorney Sentenced for Embezzling of Client Funds
On March 17, 2014 in Eugene, Ore., Bryan Gruetter, of Portland, Ore., was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,144,487 in restitution. According to court documents, Gruetter, an attorney licensed to practice law in Oregon, primarily worked personal injury and wrongful death cases. Between January 2008 and January 2012 Gruetter had illegally diverted more than $1.1 million of his clients’ money to pay for personal and business expenses rather than to pay the clients or to pay the clients’ legal, medical, insurance, or other associated costs. On March 9, 2012, Gruetter resigned his law license. Currently, the Oregon State Bar through the Client Security Fund has paid more than $900,000 to some of his clients in an attempt to mitigate some of the damage Gruetter caused.
Investment Advisor Sentenced on Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Charges
On March 13, 2013, in Seattle, Wash., Mark F. Spangler, an investment advisor, was sentenced to 192 months in prison and ordered to pay $19.8 million in restitution. Spangler was convicted in November 2013 following a three week trial on 32 counts including wire fraud, money laundering and investment advisor fraud. According to trial evidence, Spangler repeatedly violated his fiduciary duty as an investment advisor by hiding where his clients’ money was invested, and by providing them with false account statements which, among other things, drastically inflated the value of their investments. When some investors sought to liquidate their holdings, Spangler ran a Ponzi scheme seeking new money from investors to pay out the other investors. Spangler told his clients that their assets were worth over $73 million. However, he ran out of money and put his business into receivership, only approximately $28 million was recovered for the victims, resulting in a loss of approximately $50 million.
Owner of Roofing Company Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns
On March 11, 2014, in Trenton, N.J., Kenneth Morton, of Pitman, N.J., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $241,412 in restitution. Morton was the owner of Kenal Enterprises LLC (dba) Ken Morton Roofing and Siding, a residential roofing company located in Pitman. He previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with filing false income tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2009. According to court documents, from early 2007 through late 2009, Morton cashed $3,946,046 of Kenal’s gross receipts at a check cashing agency, the majority of which he did not deposit into his business bank account and did not report on his individual income tax returns. For the 2007, 2008, and 2009 tax years, Morton had unreported gross receipts of $3,946,046 resulting in a $241,412 tax loss.
Husband and Wife Sentenced for Fraud Scheme
On March 11, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif., Barbara and Robert Eberle, both of Oxford, Ga. but formerly of Chico, Calif., were sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $13.2 million in restitution. The Eberles pleaded guilty on July 20, 2012 to securities fraud for a fraud scheme that involved life settlement insurance contracts or viaticals. A “life settlement” or “viatical settlement” was a transaction in which a person, usually ill or elderly, sold the death benefit of his or her life insurance policy to a third party in return for a lump sum cash payment. According to court documents, Robert Eberle owned Lexus Financial and later Eagle Investments in Chico with his wife Barbara Eberle. They created marketing materials and sold viaticals and life settlements to investors on behalf of another individual. From 2001 until 2006, the Eberles made material misrepresentations and omissions when selling the life settlement insurance contracts to investors. As a result of their fraud, investors lost at least $13.2 million. Other defendants were previously sentenced in this scheme include Mark Wolok to 60 months in prison, Kimberly Snowden to nine months in prison, Clifford Palm to 12 months in prison and Robert Koppel to three years’ probation.
Colorado Man Sentenced for Defrauding Elderly Victim
On March 10, 2014 in Denver, Colo., Akihiko Siegfried was sentenced to 63 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $512,341 in restitution. Siegfried pleaded guilty on Oct. 28, 2013 to one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering. According to court documents, in January 2008, Siegfried knocked on the door of the elderly victim’s residence and pretended to be distraught and was crying. Siegfried falsely told the victim that his parents had just died in a car crash and that he had no money and no family to turn to for help. Siegfried asked to borrow money. The victim was then an 89-year-old widower and felt sorry for Siegfried and decided to help him. Siegfried borrowed from the victim several times and in the middle of 2008 falsely told the victim he would inherit substantial money as a result of his parents’ death, but that it would be tied up in probate and he needed money for paying the associated fees and taxes. In fact, there was never any inheritance held up in probate. From March 2009 through March 2013, Siegfried spent time as an inmate in the Colorado Department of Corrections. When he was in jail, he repeatedly called and sent letters asking for money, directing the victim to deposit and wire transfer money to his inmate account. Siegfried told the victim he needed the money because he was required to pay for his diabetes medicine while he was in jail and because he needed to pay more probate fees and taxes for his purported inheritance. In fact, Siegfried has never been diagnosed with diabetes, has never taken medication for diabetes, and inmates of the Colorado Department of Corrections are not required to pay for medicine prescribed to them while they are in custody.
Hawaii Resident Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Offenses
On March 10, 2014, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Justin Wade Smith, formerly of Hilo, was sentenced to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,262,930 in restitution to the 33 victims of his wire fraud scheme, and to pay $185,386 to the IRS. Smith pleaded guilty to wire fraud and willfully failing to file a tax return for the calendar year 2012. Under the plea agreement, Smith failed to report total income of $1,024,196 between 2007 through 2012. According to the court documents, Smith solicited money from others through false representations. The false statements included telling others that (1) he would inherit money from a sizable family trust, once he paid certain fees and costs, and (2) he was a contractor for a law enforcement agency, and could generate large fees through drug seizures. Smith asked people to “advance” money to him, and promised to repay the amounts with substantial interest once he obtained money from the family trust or law enforcement agency. However, Smith was not an heir to a large trust or a law enforcement contractor. He used the money received from others to support his own lifestyle. Smith ran his scheme from 2006 through 2012 in Hawaii and elsewhere, and obtained more than $1.2 million in cash, Western Union or Moneygram wire transfers, and the “loading” of a prepaid debit card.
Oklahoma Man Sentenced for Operating a Ponzi Scheme
In March 10, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Okla., Brian William McKye, of Bethany, Okla., was sentenced to 204 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4,566,727 in restitution. McKye was convicted in November 2013 of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in operating a Ponzi scheme. According to trial evidence, from 2006 through 2009, McKye did business as Global West Funding Ltd., Global West Financial LLC, Global West Financial LLC, Sure Lock Financial LLC, Sure Lock Loans LLC, and The Wave-Goldmade Ltd. McKye used these businesses to market investment contracts whereby investors were guaranteed a monthly rate of return from 6.5 percent to 20 percent for six to 60 months. Investors were told they had “100 percent total control” of their money and that the investments were secured by risk free real estate notes. However, McKye was not a registered investment advisor or broker-dealer in the State of Oklahoma and he used the money he received from investors to pay his own personal and business expenses and some limited returns to investors to keep the scheme on-going. Through this Ponzi scheme, McKye defrauded 83 victim-investors out of over $4.5 million. McKye’s companies were shut down by the Oklahoma Department of Securities in the spring of 2009.
Washington D.C. Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On March 6, 2014, in Washington, D.C., Jon C. Cooper was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,000,000 in restitution an Indonesian airline company and $140,109 to the United States. Cooper pleaded guilty in October 2013 to one count of tax evasion. According to court documents, in December 2006, Cooper and Alan Messner induced an Indonesian airline company to pay them a $1 million security deposit to lease two aircraft by using various false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises – including forged and fraudulent documents. Cooper received the $1 million security deposit, then transferred $284,500 to Messner in December 2006 and January 2007. Cooper spent the balance of the security deposit for his own personal benefit. Cooper and Messner did not provide the promised aircraft and did not return any funds to the Indonesian airline company. Cooper did not report at least $448,727 of those proceeds on his federal income tax return for 2006. By under-reporting his income, Cooper caused a tax loss of at least $140,109 to the United States. Messner, of Rolling Meadows, Ill., pleaded guilty in August 2013 to one count of tax evasion. He failed to report any portion of the $284,500 on his federal income tax returns. Messner was sentenced on Feb. 21, 2014, to a 12 months and a day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $62,231 in restitution to the United States.
Former Project Manager Sentenced for Bid Rigging and Other Fraudulent Schemes
On March 3, 2014, in Newark, N.J., Gordon D. McDonald was sentenced to 168 months in prison and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine. Restitution will be determined at a later date. On Sept. 30, 2013, McDonald was convicted of engaging in separate bid-rigging, kickback and fraud conspiracies with three subcontractors at two New Jersey Superfund sites - Federal Creosote in Manville, N.J., and Diamond Alkali in Newark - in return for kickbacks of more than $1.5 million. He was also convicted of engaging in an international money laundering scheme, major fraud against the United States, committing two tax violations and obstruction of justice. The various conspiracies took place at different time periods from approximately December 2000 until approximately April 2007. According to court documents, McDonald accepted kickbacks from sub-contractors in exchange for the award of sub-contracts at Federal Creosote. McDonald provided co-conspirators at Bennett Environmental Inc., a Canadian-based company that treats and disposes of contaminated soil, with bid prices of their competitors, which allowed them to submit the highest possible bid prices and still be awarded the sub-contracts. McDonald also accepted kickbacks in exchange for the award of sub-contracts at the Federal Creosote and Diamond Alkali sites from the owner of JMJ Environmental Inc., a wastewater treatment and chemical supply company, and the co-owner of National Industrial Supply LLC, an industrial pipe supplier. He also participated in a conspiracy with the owner of JMJ and co-conspirators to rig bids and allocate sub-contracts for wastewater treatment supplies and services at Federal Creosote. Including McDonald, nine individuals and three companies have pleaded guilty or been convicted of charges arising out of this investigation. More than $6 million in criminal fines and restitution have been imposed and six of the individuals have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 168 months.
Former Employee Sentenced for Theft from Store’s Foundation
On Feb. 26, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa., Christine S. DeJuliis, of York, Pa., was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,547,775 in restitution. DeJuliis previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, DeJuliis stole money from the Bon-Ton Stores Foundation while she was employed as an assistant to the head of the Foundation. The tax evasion charge resulted from DeJuliis failing to pay taxes on the money she stole. In total, over nine years, DeJuliis stole more than $1.3 million.
Leader of Massive Real Estate Fraud Scheme Sentenced for Fraud and Money Laundering
On Feb. 19, 2014, in Trenton, N.J., Eliyahu Weinstein, aka Eli Weinstein, aka Edward Weinstein, aka Eddie Weinstein, of Lakewood, N.J., was sentenced to 264 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $215.4 million in restitution and forfeiture of $215.4 million. Weinstein previously pleaded guilty to two counts of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. According to court documents, from June 2004 through August 2011, Weinstein orchestrated, with the help of others, a real estate investment fraud scheme that resulted in multimillion-dollar losses to victim investors. To induce victims to invest, Weinstein and others made various types of materially false and misleading statements and omissions. Weinstein and others told victims that Weinstein’s inside access to certain real estate opportunities allowed him to buy a particular piece of property at a below-market price. Weinstein and others told victims that their money would be used to purchase a specific property, and the property would be quickly resold – or “flipped” – to a third-party purchaser that Weinstein had lined up. Victims were also told that the their money would be held in escrow until the closing of a purported real estate transaction. Weinstein bolstered his lies by creating, and causing to be created, various types of fraudulent documents. Weinstein used millions of dollars fraudulently obtained from his victims to fund his own lavish spending including millions of dollars’ worth of antiques, artwork, a multimillion-dollar collection of jewelry and watches, gambling and personal expenses.
Business Owner Sentenced for Tax and Structuring Violations
On Feb. 18, 2014, in Los Angeles, Calif., Jeremy Scott Levine, of Newport Beach, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution to the IRS. Levine pleaded guilty in June 2013 to one count of subscribing to a false tax return for the 2010 tax year and one count of structuring a cash transaction. Levine was the owner and president of JSL Construction and Landscaping (JSL), a general contracting business in Newport Beach. According to the plea agreement, for the 2006 through 2010 tax years, Levine failed to report all of the business receipts of JSL on the individual and corporate income tax returns. Beginning in 2006, Levine directed numerous JSL customers to pay for some of the services provided by JSL by writing checks payable to Levine, individually, rather than writing a check payable to JSL. During the years 2006 through 2010, Levine cashed JSL customer checks, totaling approximately $2 million. For the years 2006 through 2009, Levine failed to report $1,498,907 in income resulting in a tax due and owing to the government of approximately $300,000. In addition to subscribing to a false income tax return, Levine pleaded guilty to cashing checks of less than $10,000 to evade federal reporting requirements.
New York Man Sentenced for Tax Crimes
On Feb. 14, 2014, in Rochester, N.Y., John P. Gizzi was sentenced to 12 months of home confinement, 5 years of probation and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. Previously, a business that Gizzi owned, Rochester Business Machines Supplier, Inc., was sentenced to pay a fine of $500,000. On July 30, 2013, Gizzi pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns in 2008 and 2009. According to court documents, Gizzi criminally cheated the United States out of $1,901,633 in federal income taxes by using entities he owned to conceal income and artificially inflate expenses in several complex schemes. Gizzi and his business have now paid the United States approximately $11.5 million in back taxes, fraud penalties, interest, fines and forfeitures, in this and related tax proceedings.
New York Woman Sentenced for Fraud
On Feb. 14, 2014, in Syracuse, N.Y., Patricia Harrington, of Liverpool, N.Y., was sentenced to 55 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $19,424 in restitution to the New York State Department of Labor and $28,031 to the IRS, along with interest and penalties. On Sept. 11, 2013, Harrington pleaded guilty to 11 wire fraud, tax fraud and aggravated identity theft charges. According to court documents, Harrington submitted six false federal tax refund claims in the name of family members, without their knowledge, during 2011 and 2012. She also fraudulently obtained monies from the New York State Department of Labor in 2011 and 2012 by submitting false claims for unemployment benefits in the name of various family members, again, without their knowledge. Harrington used the identity of another person to commit her crimes. At the time she committed these offenses she was serving a term of federal supervised release in connection with a conviction for a similar fraud scheme in Pennsylvania in 2009.
Florida Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion and False Statements
On Feb. 14, 2014, in Tallahassee, Fla., William “Geri” Eaton was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $99,126 in restitution. In November 2013, Eaton pleaded guilty to charges of tax evasion and making false statements in a matter involving a health care benefit program. According to court documents, between 2004 and 2008, Eaton earned more than $1.18 million in taxable income. He failed to file his federal income tax returns as they became due and instead, in the fall of 2009, Eaton filed late returns for all four prior tax years. His total tax due, not counting interest and penalties, was more than $472,000. In early 2010, Eaton entered an agreement to pay his back taxes in monthly installments of $1,000. He made six payments, and then stopped paying altogether. On April 29, 2011, Eaton opened an account under a false social security number at a Tallahassee credit union. One week later, he sold his beach house for more than $1.3 million. To conceal the money from the IRS, Eaton deposited $727,437 in proceeds he received from the sale into his fraudulently opened credit union account. He later transferred a portion of this money to a Pensacola credit union account, which he had also opened under a false social security number. Over the course of the next seven months, Eaton spent more than $125,000 of the sales proceeds. He made no payments on his taxes during this period. In November 2011, the IRS levied Eaton’s fraudulently opened credit union accounts and obtained approximately $610,000 as payments toward his tax liabilities.
California Man Sentenced for Role in Ponzi Scheme
On Feb. 14, 2014, in Sacramento, Calif., Kenneth Kenitzer, of Pleasanton, was sentenced to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release. According to court records, beginning in 2006, Kenneth Kenitzer and Anthony Vassallo ran Equity Investments Management & Trading (EIMT). Vassallo claimed that he had developed computer software that enabled him to make profits of approximately 3 percent per month or 36 percent per year. Investors were told that this strategy had worked successfully for years with one loss situation that had been corrected. In fact, Vassallo’s strategy had been historically unsuccessful, losing money overall. Investors generally funneled money into EIMT through a number of sub-funds. Kenitzer was an officer of EIMT and the primary administrator of several of the sub-funds that invested with EIMT. He also was the primary point of contact for investors and sub-fund managers to actually transfer money to and from EIMT. More than 300 individuals invested in the EIMT scheme, contributing at least $83 million. Of that amount, more than $55 million was returned to investors, although nearly $17 million of that constituted amounts paid to some investors above the amount of their original investments. Thus, actual loss to the investors totaled more than $40 million. Vassallo was sentenced in June 2013 to 192 months in prison.
Former Laboratory Executive Sentenced for Tax-Related Crimes
On Feb. 13, 2014, in Boston, Mass., Patrick Cavanaugh, of Gloucester, was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release. In 2013, Cavanaugh pleaded guilty to four counts of subscribing to false tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2008. According to court documents, Cavanaugh, the former chief operating officer of Calloway Laboratories, Inc., a urine drug testing company in Woburn, Mass., filed false federal income tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2008, by substantially underreporting his income during those tax years. During that period, while employed at Calloway, Cavanaugh received payments, in the form of checks and cash, from JAC Resources, Inc., a straw company that Cavanaugh owned and controlled, but failed to report the income on his federal income tax returns.
Former Coroner Sentenced for Conspiracy to Steal Government Funds
On Feb. 12, 2014, in New Orleans, La., Peter Galvan, the former St. Tammany Parish Coroner, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $193,388 in restitution. Galvan pleaded guilty on Oct. 23, 2013 to conspiring to steal government funds from the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office. According to court records, Galvan earned annual or sick leave to which he was not entitled. However, with the assistance of another coroner’s office employee, Galvan received yearly payments for unused annual and sick leave, totaling $111,376 over a five year period. Galvan, as a physician, individually contracted with the City of Slidell, La. to provide medical services for inmates of the Slidell City Jail. The contract was not with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, but with Galvan personally. However, Galvan conspired with another individual employed with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office to service this contract while the other individual was supposed to be working for and was being paid by the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office employee was paid at least $50,000 in public funds to fulfill Galvan’s personal contract. Additionally, Galvan conspired with an employee of the coroner’s office to purchase personal item valued at over $16,000 for his personal use, all with St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office funds. Finally, Galvan used his St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office credit card to make purchases of meals and other personal items totaling $15,606 which were unrelated to the office’s business.
Former Nightclub Owners Sentenced for Tax Violations
On Feb. 12, 2014, in Buffalo, N.Y., Vincent Giamo, of Orchard Park, N.Y., was sentenced to 12 months in prison after a previous conviction for tax evasion. His wife Mary Giamo was sentenced to three years’ probation after a previous conviction for aiding or assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. The couple was also ordered to pay $671,840 in restitution and have already paid $550,000 to the IRS. According to court documents, the couple owned and operated a bar business, known as "Utopia." Between 2002 and 2005, Vincent Giamo maintained two sets of books for "Utopia." One set of books was used for preparing and filing of the corporate tax returns and the other set of books reflected the true receipts and expenses for the business. The total amount of tax loss associated with the evasion is approximately $1,225,651. Mary Giamo, as an officer of the corporation, aided her husband in filing false returns for the taxable years 2004 and 2005 resulting in a tax loss of approximately $123,454 for those years.
Owner of Construction Company Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On Feb. 11, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif., Brian Kenny was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home confinement and ordered to pay $199,493 in restitution. Kenny pleaded guilty on Nov. 5, 2013 to aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false tax return. According to court records, on or about Feb. 17, 2005, Kenny incorporated his business, SF Bay Construction, Inc. (SFBC). SFBC filed tax returns reporting business gross receipts but paid no corporate income tax. Rather, Kenny reported SFBC’s income on his personal income tax return and paid the tax as SFBC’s sole shareholder. Kenny, however, evaded the full payment of his individual income taxes by underreporting SFBC’s business gross receipts. Kenny failed to report $470,225 in business gross receipts during the 2006 tax year. He knew the amount of business gross receipts reported on SFBC’s tax return was material to the calculation of income tax owed on his personal income tax return.
Financial Advisory Sentenced for Investment Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 10, 2014, in Reno, Nev., Gary H. Lane, a former bank financial advisor, was sentenced to 120 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution to the victims. Lane pleaded guilty in September 2013 to 12 counts of mail fraud and five counts of attempt to evade or defeat tax. According to court documents, Lane was employed until March 2011 as a financial advisor with Bank of America Investment Services. During the course of Lane’s employment, he developed a scheme to entice persons to invest monies with him through the use of an E-Trade account rather than through normal bank procedures. Lane allegedly looked for investors who were elderly or lacked investing experience and who had a desire for high returns and aversion to risk. Lane told the investors that their funds would be invested in United States Treasury Bonds which would pay better than six percent interest and would mature in two years. Lane corroborated the trades by creating false confirmations and distributing them to the victims by mail. After receiving the monies from the victims, Lane gave them to his spouse who mailed them to her E-Trade account. The monies were then withdrawn at Lane’s direction for his own use or to pay other investors. In actuality, Lane never purchased any United States Treasury Bonds with the victims’ monies. In fact, there were never any United States Treasury Bonds that existed with a rate of return of greater than six percent and a maturity period of less than two years. Using this scheme, Lane defrauded approximately six persons of over $2 million between January 2010 and March 2011. Lane also filed false and fraudulent individual tax returns for the years 2006 through 2010, substantially understating his income and tax due and owing to the IRS.
California Man Sentenced in Investment Fraud Scheme
On Feb. 10, 2014, in Los Angeles, Calif., Nicholaus Skultety was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $10.9 million in restitution to victims of his scheme. In October 2013, Skultety pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and willful failure to file a tax return. According to court documents, Skultety was the President of Operations of American Paramount Financial, a private funding group located in Westlake Village. Between at least January 2009 through May 2010, Skultety and other unidentified co-conspirators solicited at least 42 investors seeking loans either in person or by phone. Investors were told that their loans would be provided through American Paramount and secured by a Stand-by-Letter of Credit (SBLC) issued by a bank. Investors were further told that they had to pay American Paramount an upfront lender fee of typically two percent of their requested loan amount prior to the issuance of the loan. Investors were further told that their lender fees would be held in a secure “attorney-trust account” or in an American Paramount corporate holding account, and that the fees would be returned to the investors if the loans did not fund within 30 days of receipt of the fees. In truth, no loans were funded. Nonetheless, Skultety and other co-conspirators transferred and withdrew the investors’ fees before the expiration of the 30-day periods, and without the investors’ permission. As a result, Skultety received $14,251,939 from 42 investors between January 2009 and May 2010. Skultety paid back $3,937,950, thus causing a loss of $10,313,989. During calendar year 2009, Skultety received at least $1,349,595 in gross income. However, Skultety failed to timely file a personal federal income tax return for the 2009 tax year claiming this income.
Mississippi Office Manager Sentenced for Tax Evasion, Bank Fraud
On Feb. 4, 2014, in Jackson, Miss., Barbara Cummings, of Clinton, Miss., was sentenced to 23 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Cummings pleaded guilty in October 2013 to tax evasion and bank fraud. According to court documents, from March 2007 through March 2009, Cummings was employed as the office manager at Mid-South Machinery in Jackson. During her employment, she systematically forged the signatures of the owners of Mid-South Machinery on numerous checks drawn on Mid-South Machinery’s bank accounts, making such forged checks payable to herself and her husband and cashing and depositing funds into her personal bank account. Cummings also altered the dollar amounts written on transaction tickets from a Mid-South bank account that were made payable to “Petty Cash” or she would fraudulently create a transaction ticket, making it payable to “Barbara Cummings,” and keeping some or all of the money. During 2008, she prepared her own income tax return, where she intentionally failed to report over $120,000 in income she had received that year through her fraudulent scheme.
Louisiana Lawyer Sentenced for False Tax Claims
On Feb. 4, 2014, in Monroe, La., Francis C. Broussard, of West Monroe, La., was sentenced to 28 months in prison and three years of supervised release for making false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims to the IRS. He pleaded guilty on April 19, 2013. According to evidence presented at court, Broussard, who has been licensed to practice law in Louisiana since 1986, filed personal tax returns in 2009 for years 2005 to 2008 using documents containing false information in an attempt to receive a total of $9.7 million in refunds to which he was not entitled. Broussard did not receive the requested refunds.
Former County Sheriff Deputy Sentenced for Role in Ponzi Scheme
On Feb. 4, 2014, in Denver, Colo., David N. Hawkins, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $204,348 in restitution and to forfeit $17,000. Hawkins pleaded guilty on March 15, 2013 to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. According to court documents, Hawkins was employed as a deputy sheriff for the El Paso County, Colorado Sheriff's Office. In 2006, Hawkins attended training courses on how to trade profitably in foreign currencies and the exchanges of foreign currencies (FOREX). From in or about November 2009, and continuing through early December 2011, Hawkins obtained in excess of $1.2 million from his colleagues, other law enforcement officers, and their respective friends and relatives for the purpose of trading these funds in the FOREX markets on their behalf. He had approximately 73 investors, most investors using personal savings or retirement funds accumulated over the years as their source of the investment funds. Estimated losses to investors collectively total approximately $204,349. Hawkins made several false representations to investors, including investors would be guaranteed a return of 10% per month. Over time Hawkins removed investor funds from FOREX trading accounts into bank accounts he controlled. He would then use these funds either for his own personal expenses, for personal investments unrelated to FOREX investments or to fund payments to those of his investors who requested to withdraw their principal investments. In addition to making Ponzi scheme payments to investors, Hawkins diverted approximately $175,587 for his own uses and purposes.
Attorney Sentenced for Unlawfully Intercepting Telephone Conversations and Tax Evasion
On Feb. 3, 2014, in San Francisco, Calif., Mary Nolan, a divorce and family law attorney in San Ramon, Calif., was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $468,918 in restitution. In addition, the court ordered the resignation of her bar license. Nolan pleaded guilty on September 27, 2013, to one count of unlawful interception of communications and four counts of tax evasion. According to court documents, Nolan caused her staff to illegally intercept telephone conversations by accessing a listening device that a private investigator had installed in a victim’s vehicle. She also willfully evading more than $400,000 in federal taxes between 2005 and 2009, and obstructed justice by submitting false contracts to the IRS during an audit.
Illinois Businessman Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Unemployment Benefits Fraud
On January 31, 2014, in Chicago, Ill., James L. Quirin, of Sauget, Ill., was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $384,780 in restitution to the IRS and $44,670 to the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Fund. Quirin previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government funds, three counts of tax evasion and one count of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Quirin applied for unemployment insurance benefits in February 2009, even though he was a gainfully employed businessman receiving significant income. Most of the payments he received were made out to the names of other business entities with which he was associated. In March 2009, in order to conceal his true income, he began converting these checks to cash at a money services business (over $900,000 through January 2013). On July 22, 2008, the IRS issued Quirin a Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing in the amount of $93,844 for the 2006 tax year. On September 30, 2009, Quirin made a formal offer in compromise in the amount of $5,500 for his 2006 tax debt in which he claimed that his only income was unemployment compensation. Quirin also evaded payment of substantial income tax for 2008 and 2010. On July 13, 2010, Quirin made and filed an income tax return for 2009 in which he understated the gross receipts of his business by over $100,000.
Former Developer of Condo-Hotels Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On January 31, 2014, in Chicago, Ill., Robert D. Falor was sentenced to 74 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,752,948 in restitution to the IRS. Falor pleaded guilty in May 2013 to two counts of income tax evasion. According to court documents, Falor was the chief operator and manager of The Falor Companies, Inc. (TFC), which ceased operating in 2006. TFC acquired and managed hotel properties through a complex network of limited liability corporations. Through various ventures, before and after 2006, Falor attempted to convert hotels to condo-hotels by selling individual guest rooms to investors as separately titled condominium units. He then rented the units through a related hotel management company to other guests when the owner was not in residence. The owner received a percentage of the rental fee. From 2006 through June 2008, one of the hotels generated hundreds of thousands of dollars per month in revenues. But instead of paying debts to the hotel’s creditors, Falor plundered approximately $5.7 million from the hotel and diverted the cash to himself. Falor’s father, David R. Falor, who was a principal in TFC and extradited last year from Italy, pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced in December 2013 to 24 months in prison. David Falor converted $779,000 in payments that were recorded as loans from TFC, but which became taxable income when the companies went out of business. David Falor used the funds for personal expenses. Robert Falor’s brother, Christopher Falor, a consultant to the condo-hotel projects, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax counts and is awaiting sentencing.
Russian National Sentenced for Role in Securities Fraud Scheme
On January 31, 2014, in Newark, N.J., Petr Murmylyuk, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced to 30 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $505,357 in restitution. Murmylyuk, a Russian national, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud. According to court documents, Murmylyuk participated in a conspiracy to steal from online trading accounts. The conspiracy first gained unauthorized access to the online accounts of brokerage firm customers. The conspirators then used stolen identities to open additional accounts referred to as “Profit Accounts” at other brokerage houses. They then caused the victims’ accounts to make unprofitable and illogical securities trades with the Profit Accounts, leading to losses in the victims’ accounts and gains in the Profit Accounts. One version of the fraud involved causing the victims’ accounts to sell options contracts to the Profit Accounts, then to purchase the same contracts back minutes later for many times the price. The members of the conspiracy recruited foreign nationals visiting, studying, and living in the United States to open bank accounts into which illegal proceeds could be deposited. The conspirators then caused the proceeds of the sham trades to be transferred from the Profit Accounts into those accounts, where the stolen money could be withdrawn. The scheme caused combined losses of approximately $1 million.
Ohio Financial Planner Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns, Wire Fraud and Money Laundering
On January 29, 2014, in Dayton, Ohio, Joshua E. Knisley, of Wilmington, Ohio was sentenced to 15 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit a 2006 Jeep Commander. Knisley pleaded guilty on June 7, 2013 to willfully filing a false federal income tax return with the IRS, wire fraud, and money laundering. According to court documents, between January 2007 and June 2011, Knisley was a business partner with an individual in a retail boat business known as 77 Marine located in Centerville, Ohio. Knisley was also a financial advisor for several individuals. Knisley engaged in an extensive scheme to defraud his financial advising clients, various employees and customers of Marine 77, various financial institutions, and the IRS. Knisley created false documents, including business checks, personal financial statements, purchase agreements, business sales reports, and other financial documents. Also, Knisley concealed from his financial advising clients the fact that he continued to divert investment funds, sales proceeds and loan proceeds entrusted to him for unauthorized personal and business purposes. The total tax loss to the IRS caused by Knisley filing false federal income tax returns was approximately $66,908 for the 2007 through 2009 tax years. Knisley also caused federal employment tax losses to the IRS in the amount of approximately $68,239 for 2008 through 2011 tax years.
Illinois Farmer and Former Elevator Manager Sentenced for Money Laundering and Wire Fraud
On January 29, 2014, in Peoria, Ill., Robert James Printz, of Fairbury, Ill., and Timothy Boerma, of Lincoln, Ill., were sentenced to 121 months and 72 months in prison, respectively, and five years of supervised release. Printz, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and wire fraud charges, was also ordered pay $7,038,537 in restitution. Boerma, who pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was also ordered to pay restitution of $6,730,594. According to court documents, Printz farmed in central Illinois as Printz Farms. Boerma was employed at Towanda Grain and became manager of the elevator in April 2009 until he was discharged on May 10, 2010. From October 2009 to about January 2010, Printz admitted that he continued to obtain advances from Boerma, at more than twice the value of the grain Printz delivered. From October 2009 to April 2010, Printz received a total of approximately $13.1 million from Towanda Grain. Printz subsequently made repayments to Towanda Grain of approximately $6.1 million. To conceal funds, Printz misrepresented to his accountants the nature of the transactions and the amount of funds received. Boerma admitted that he acted contrary to the terms of the loan agreement between Towanda Grain and a secured lender of Towanda Grain, in making loans and advances to Printz. To conceal the payments to Printz, Boerma made false entries in the records of Towanda Grain and provided false statements to the bank.
CEO of Free Truth Enterprises Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Mortgage Loan Fraud
On January 29, 2014, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Regina Shields was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $202,806 in restitution for filing a false tax return and wire fraud. According to court documents, Shields formed a non-profit corporation called Free Truth Enterprises and has served as the President and CEO since 2000. From 2007 through 2010, Shields filed federal income tax returns with the IRS claiming $61,315 in false claims for income tax refunds. Shields also bid for and won an auction for a property in foreclosure. She then paid for the property using a check that had insufficient funds. Using this temporary appearance of title she applied for a sizable loan, in excess of $140,000, and used the proceeds to purchase a luxury car.
Virginia Businessman Sentenced for Role in Contracting Scheme Involving United States Army
On January 27, 2014, in Washington, D.C., Oh Sung Kwon, of Vienna, Va., was sentenced to 46 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,188,500 in restitution and the same amount in a forfeiture money judgment. Kwon, aka Thomas Kwon, pleaded guilty in September 2012 to one count each of bribery, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and willful failure to file a tax return. According to court documents, Kwon was the co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenciatech, Inc., a government contractor. Kwon is among 17 people and one corporation that pleaded guilty to federal charges for their roles in the largest domestic bribery and bid-rigging scheme in the history of federal contracting. Kwon learned of a contract-steering scheme from two business contacts. These schemes involved contracts and subcontracts awarded through the United States Army Corps of Engineers in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to a program manager at the Army Corps of Engineers. Kwon also pleaded guilty in a separate scheme involving bank fraud. In addition to running Avenciatech, Kwon was the operations manager for Onyx Financial Services, a mortgage broker. He admitted involvement in at least six fraudulent real estate sales and refinances in northern Virginia, with loan amounts of about $1.8 million. Finally, Kwon pleaded guilty and was sentenced for the willful failure to file a tax return.
Former Executive Director of Halfway House Sentenced on Embezzlement and Tax Charges
On January 22, 2014, in Albuquerque, N.M., Robin Cash was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $202,775 in restitution to the victim of her criminal conduct and $66,575 to the IRS. On May 15, 2013, Cash pleaded guilty to four counts of theft concerning programs receiving federal funds and three counts of willful failure to file a tax return. According to her plea agreement, Cash was employed as the Executive Director of a halfway house. Court filings reflect that the Pretrial Services Office (PTS) of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico contracted with the not-for-profit corporation that operates the halfway house to cover the costs of providing a custodial residential environment for federal defendants. PTS made monthly payments of approximately $60,000 to $80,000 to the halfway house to cover these costs, and the halfway house deposited the funds in its business bank account. After Cash became Executive Director of the halfway house in April 2008, she was added as a signatory on the halfway house’s business bank account and received a debit card for the account. Between September 2008 and January 2011, Cash made unauthorized debits to the business bank account and used the proceeds for her own benefit. In April 2010, Cash opened a checking account and corresponding bank account in the name of halfway house without authorization. Thereafter and until February 2011, Cash regularly took funds that the halfway house residents were required to pay to defray their housing costs and deposited the funds into the unauthorized account. She then used the funds to pay for personal expenses. In addition, Cash failed to file federal income returns for calendar years 2008, 2009 and 2010.
North Carolina Woman Sentenced for Wire Fraud
On January 22, 2014, in Greensboro, N.C., Angela Womack, of Jamestown, N.C., was sentenced to 70 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $2,857,201 in restitution. Womack pleaded guilty on August 30, 2013 to wire fraud and money laundering. Womack worked as the Accounts Payable Manager of Carolina Steel Group, LLC. As Accounts Payable Manager, Womack prepared the company’s reports to provide that vendors would be paid. While working at Carolina Steel Group, Womack opened non-profit accounts in the name of “IBOCF.” Unbeknownst to her employer, Womack created vendor checks payable to “International BOCF” even though this company was not a vendor to Carolina Steel Group. She also caused additional checks payable to “International BOCF” to be included on the company’s vendor reports. Womack then ensured that banks would honor the company’s checks (including the fraudulent ones) by uploading additional fraudulent reports to a financial clearinghouse website. In an attempt to hide her scheme, Womack changed internal accounting entries so that the checks to “International BOCF” appeared to be written to legitimate vendors of Carolina Steel Group and altered internal accounting data using another employee’s access codes. Womack deposited fraudulently obtained checks into the “IBOCF” account she controlled, and used the funds from that account for her own benefit.
Pennsylvania Couple Sentenced on Tax Evasion and Bribery Charges
On January 21, 2014, in Harrisburg, Pa., Ivan Garces, of Etters, Pa., was sentenced to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $7,700 fine. Mayra Garces was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $7,700 fine. The Garces pleaded guilty to tax evasion and bribery of a public official in May 2013. According to court documents, on September 27, 2011, the Garces offered to pay a Revenue Agent, who was conducting an audit, $50,000 if the agent would reduce their tax liability and not expand the audit to include the years before and after the current audit. On November 10, 2011, during an undercover operation, the couple paid the Revenue Agent $50,000 in cash. A review of the couples’ business records established that the couple intentionally failed to report $1,091,267 in income for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The couple has paid the IRS a total of $843,866 in penalties, back taxes and interest. The $50,000 used for the bribe was relinquished to the United States Treasury.
Missouri Man Sentenced for Investment Fraud Scheme
On January 21, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo., Richard J. Gumerman, of Independence, Mo., was sentenced to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $722,326 in restitution. On July 26, 2013, Gumerman pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, Gumerman stole at least $724,000 from investors from 2007 through December 2011. Gumerman used investor funds for personal living expenses, to pay other investors and in other businesses he owned. According to court documents, Gumerman did business as Gumerman Trading Company (GTC). Gumerman is not registered as a broker-dealer agent, investment adviser representative, or issuer agent in the state of Missouri, nor has he ever been. Despite not being registered to sell securities, Gumerman sold investments with the GTC Trading Fund. Between January 1992 and December 2010, individuals and groups invested more than $948,000 in the GTC Trading Fund. Gumerman told investors that the GTC Trading Fund pooled investor funds to trade in the commodities futures market. Gumerman mailed statements to investors listing a fictional ending balance, fictional “interest” earned and a fictional rate of return on investment. Gumerman sent to investors IRS Forms 1099 which reflected that they had earned interest from their investment accounts, when in fact they had not earned interest. Investors used these forms to pay taxes on interest they had not earned. Gumerman also admitted that, when he filed his tax return in April 2011, Gumerman failed to declare income he had obtained by fraud. He stated that his taxable income was $42,534 in 2010; however, his taxable income was actually $248,350. The total tax loss from Gumerman’s false tax returns was $96,635.
Former Loan Officer Sentenced for Investment Fraud Scheme
On January 17, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nev., Kamalu Gonzales was sentenced to 78 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay over $830,000 in restitution. Gonzales pleaded guilty in August 2013 to two counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. According to court documents, Gonzales worked as a loan officer in Henderson. Gonzales helped persons refinance their homes by placing false information in the loan applications so the individuals could obtain refinancing and cash to which they would not have otherwise been entitled. In addition, Gonzales told individuals that he was a successful investor and trader in the foreign currency exchange market. Gonzales recruited individuals to invest with him in the market, telling them that they could earn high rates of return on their investments in a short period of time. Some of the victims wired money to Gonzales, and others borrowed money from their retirement funds or lines of credit. Gonzales also convinced some of the persons who refinanced their houses to give him some of the cash they received from refinancing for his investment fraud scheme. None of the victims agreed to pay Gonzales any commissions or fees, or agreed that he could use their investments for personal or business expenses or to pay other investors. In order to continue the scheme and to keep victims from discovering the crime, Gonzales lied to the victims repeatedly and told them their investments were doing well. As a result of the lies, some victims gave Gonzales more money to invest. Gonzales also made payments to some of the victims using monies he received from other victims. Gonzales received approximately $1 million total from at least 16 victims in 2007 and 2008. Gonzales did not invest the victims’ funds as promised and diverted approximately $410,000 for his own personal purposes.
Former Social Security Administrator Sentenced on Federal Charges
On January 10, 2014, in Providence, R.I., Randolph Hurst, of West Warwick, R.I., was sentenced to 39 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $245,299. Hurst, a former Assistant District Manager for the Social Security Administration in Rhode Island, pleaded guilty on October 9, 2013, to one count each of aggravated identity theft, transportation of stolen securities and tax evasion; two counts of mail fraud; and three counts of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Hurst admitted to stealing the identity of a Coventry, R.I., man and using his identity to fraudulently sell more than $160,000 worth of stock certificates belonging to the victim, and for failing to pay $61,999 in taxes owed the IRS. Hurst stole personal identifying information of the victim and used it to open a joint account at a brokerage firm in his name and in the name of the victim without the victim’s permission. Hurst then provided documentation purportedly authored and signed by the victim, requesting the deposit of stock certificates owned by the victim. The victim never authorized the deposit of the stock certificates. Further, without the victim’s knowledge, Hurst requested that the stocks be sold. He deposited two checks totaling $161,727 which represented the proceeds of the stock sales into a bank account owned jointly by Hurst and his wife. Hurst admitted to the court that he and his wife spent the proceeds of the stock sales on personal items and personal expenses.
Former Florida Police Officer and Wife Sentenced for Selling Firearms without a License and Filing False Tax Returns
On January 9, 2014, in Miami, Fla., Rafael Oscar Valdes and Tammy Lynn Valdes were sentenced for dealing in firearms without a federal license and filing false tax returns. Rafael Valdes was sentenced to 60 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Tammy Valdes was sentenced to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Both defendants were ordered to pay $6,613 in restitution. According to the court record and evidence presented at trial, neither defendant ever possessed a federal firearms license. Starting as early as July 2005, and continuing through June 2012, the defendants began buying and selling firearms. In November 2008, the defendants began buying and selling firearms under the fictitious name of Custom Weapons Systems. The defendants advertised and sold more than 100 firearms via the Internet to persons across the nation, as well as attending more than 100 gun shows in Florida, during which they purchased and sold firearms. During trial, evidence was presented that the Valdeses failed to report over $350,000 in gross receipts during 2008 through 2011.
Naval Pharmacy Technicians Sentenced for Fraud
On January 9, 2014, in Albany, Ga., Anthony David Olson, of Mauk, Ga., was sentenced to 55 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and filing a false tax return. Olson's co-defendant, Patrick Edward Keefe, of Dayville, Conn., was sentenced to 33 months in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both defendants pleaded guilty on September 27, 2013. In their plea agreements, Olson and Keefe admitted that from approximately 1999 to 2009, they were active duty sailors or otherwise employed by the United States Navy. Olson was assigned to work as a pharmacy technician at the Naval Branch Medical Clinic located on the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Ga. Keefe was a pharmacy technician at the Naval Hospital located in Groton, Conn. The pair stole insulin and diabetic test strips and sold them to an unlicensed drug wholesaler in Florida. Payments for the products were delivered by electronic funds transfers or credit card payments. These actions were a continuation of a scheme begun by Olson in approximately 2001 while assigned to another naval hospital. Olson recruited Keefe into the scheme in approximately 2002. PayPal records show that from January 2005 through October 2009, Olson received approximately $1,037,458 for insulin and diabetic test strips which he and Keefe stole from their respective pharmacies. From that amount, he paid Keefe approximately $241,849. In addition, Keefe admitted that he filed false tax returns for tax years 2005 through 2009, resulting in $191,808 in taxes due and owing.
Florida Woman Sentenced for Tax and Student Loan Fraud
On January 9, 2014, in Tampa, Fla., Katherine Rumph-Smith, of Largo, Fla., was sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $110,971 in restitution to the IRS and to pay $22,350 to the Federal Stafford Loan Program. Rumph-Smith pleaded guilty on October 10, 2013 to defrauding student financial aid and filing false claims with the IRS. According to court documents, Rumph-Smith had procured several student loans with outstanding balances, then had the balances discharged due to a disability. In order to obtain further student loans, she submitted physician forms, with the physician’s signature forged by her, saying that her condition had improved, and agreeing to repay her prior loan balances. Rumph-Smith then applied for additional student loans to attend a University, which she did not attend, and obtained over $27,000 in loans, from which a total of $22,350 was disbursed to her. In addition, Rumph-Smith created four fictitious Florida corporations and then filed corporate tax returns claiming over $500,000 in refundable tax credits on behalf of the corporations. Also, she opened bank accounts in the names of the corporations, where refunds from the fraudulent corporate tax returns were directly deposited. She used these funds for personal expenses and admitted that these corporations were created solely for the purpose of filing false corporate tax returns and were not operational in any manner.
Illinois Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On January 9, 2014, in Chicago, Ill., Sharon Anzaldi, of Elmwood Park, was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $851,142 in restitution for filing false income tax returns. According to court documents, Anzaldi filed 13 federal tax returns for herself, friends, and family that fraudulently claimed refunds totaling more than $8 million. Also convicted and sentenced as part of the scheme with Anzaldi, were her son, Phillip DeSalvo who received 30 months in prison and Steven Latin who received 18 months in prison.
Virgin Islands Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On January 7, 2014, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Rodney E. Miller, Sr., former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Schneider Regional Medical Center, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $86,798 in restitution to the Virgin Islands Bureau of Internal Revenue, for income tax fraud. According to the evidence presented at trial, in 2006, Miller received $510,947 in taxable income and compensation from his position as CEO of Schneider Regional Medical Center. When he filed his 2006 income tax return, Miller only reported income in the amount of $265,198, and a tax owing of $39,810. However, based on his true income for 2006 which was $510,947, Miller’s tax liability was actually $126,608.
Former County Commissioner Sentenced for Ponzi Schemes
On December 19, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn., Edward Shannon Polen, of Greenbrier, Tenn., was sentenced to 71 months in prison and five years of supervised release. Polen, a former Robertson County Commissioner, pleaded guilty in December 2012. According to court documents, between January 2007 and about March 2011, Polen operated three investment Ponzi schemes in which he solicited and received approximately $16,000,000 from more than fifty investors. The three investment schemes were totally fraudulent and Polen never intended to invest any of the funds he received from investor-victims. At the time of investment, Polen provided investors with a minimum of two post-dated checks, one for the principal amount of their investment and the other for the profit that their investment was expected to produce. Polen used the post-dated checks as a ruse to create the illusion for investors that their investments were safe and secure. Polen assured the investors that the post-dated checks could be cashed at any time. However, at the time he tendered the checks to the investors, Polen knew that the accounts upon which the checks were drawn had either been closed or did not, and would never, contain funds sufficient to cover the amounts of the checks.
Rhode Island Convenience Store Owner Sentenced for Defrauding the Food Stamp Program
On December 19, 2013, in Providence, R.I., Cristina Ramirez was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release, the first eight months to be served in home confinement. Ramirez was also ordered to pay $399,000 in restitution to the Food Stamp Program. Ramirez, the owner of Cristina’s Market, pleaded guilty on October 4, 2013, to conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud and money laundering. According to court documents, beginning in at least October 2010, Ramirez stole nearly $400,000 from the Food Stamp Program. Ramirez allowed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit recipients to use their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to exchange their SNAP benefits for cash, a violation of the program’s laws and regulations. Ramirez then added a surcharge to the recipients’ withdrawal of SNAP benefits, usually an amount equal to half that of the amount of cash benefit received by the recipient. Ramirez and her two employees, her ex-husband and another person, conducted the illicit business transactions. Ramirez repeatedly withdrew the proceeds of her fraud in a manner that was designed to disguise its source, avoiding reporting requirements for transactions in excess of $10,000. Ramirez conducted $362,000 worth of transactions in this manner. The funds were used for personal and other non-business related expenses.
Zimbabwe Native Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns
On December 19, 2013, in Baltimore, Md., Makushamari Gozo, a native of Zimbabwe, was sentenced to 132 months in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $202,667 in restitution. According to evidence presented at trial, beginning in 2010, Gozo used several entities he controlled to file fraudulent claims for tax refunds. Gozo filed individual income tax returns falsely claiming that from 2007 to 2011, he earned wages from two of his companies and was entitled to tax refunds totaling more the $417,000. In addition, Gozo filed tax returns falsely claiming that a third company had sustained losses in 2007 through 2009 which entitled Gozo to more than $76,000 in tax refunds. From October 31, 2011 to February 17, 2012, Gozo also filed false excise tax returns claiming that a fourth company was entitled to approximately $22,657,137 in alternative fuel tax refunds and credits based on having purchased or used over 39 million gallons of alternative fuel. In fact, the entities were all sham businesses that existed in name only. Also, between July and September 2010, Gozo defrauded several credit unions to obtain fraudulent automobile and business loans. Gozo submitted four loan applications to the credit unions in which he misrepresented his income and employment in order to buy luxury automobiles that Gozo never actually purchased. Gozo also submitted a fraudulent loan application for a $3 million business loan in the name of another one of his sham companies. On the business loan application, Gozo made fraudulent statements about the financial and business affairs of the company in order to make it appear financially successful, and submitted several false corporate tax returns claiming that the company controlled millions of dollars in assets.
Former Vice President of Construction Company and Subcontractor Sentenced on Fraud Charges
On December 19, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo., Clone Jefferson Oliver, of Apollo Beach, Fla., was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Oliver, former vice-president of construction at Alberici, pleaded guilty in September 2013 to mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Oliver will be liable to pay Alberici the full $6.8 million in restitution. He also agreed that property and assets he acquired with the stolen money would be forfeited. According to court documents, Oliver was the project manager for Alberici on a project to build a water treatment plant in Arlington County, Virginia. Oliver and Kenneth Marc Simmons, a subcontractor on the project, participated in a scheme to defraud Alberici through the preparation and submission of inflated invoices and false change orders for materials provided to the project by Simmons' business, Industrial and Municipal Supply (IMS). When IMS received payment on the inflated invoices, Simmons kept a share and then forwarded money in the nature of kickbacks to Oliver. Simmons made many of the payments to a corporation formed by Oliver called Advanced Construction Solutions. Alberici was over-billed in the amount of $4.8 million from 2006 through 2011. Simmons, of La Grange, Ga., was sentenced on December 18, 2013, to 24 months prison and ordered to pay restitution of $4.8 million.
Venture Capitalist Sentenced on Tax Charges
On December 19, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo., Burton Douglas Morriss, of Creve Coeur, Mo., was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Morriss pleaded guilty in August 2013 to one count of tax evasion. According to his plea agreement, the tax liability Morriss attempted to evade in 2007 was $2,888,483. The total tax due and owing by Morriss for all tax years is $5,559,386. According to court documents, Morriss was a venture capitalist and was versed in tax laws. As a venture capitalist, he would discuss tax consequences of buying and selling investments to sophisticated investors. For the tax year 2007, Morriss earned substantial income from his venture capital activities. In order to reduce his tax liability for that year, he claimed $18,160,613 in losses associated with a number of entities, including Morriss Holdings, MIC Aircraft, Tech Aircraft and MIC Real Estate. These entities were established as single member limited liability companies for Morriss's mother. Additionally, Mrs. Morriss had already claimed these passive losses for her own benefit in previous years. In addition to these 2007 tax losses, Morriss admitted to evading millions more in taxes on income from his venture capital companies in subsequent tax years. Morriss did not timely file tax returns for 2006 through 2009.
Florida Man Sentenced for Operating Investment Fraud Schemes
On December 18, 2013, in Hartford, Conn., Robert Rivernider, of Wellington, Fla., was sentenced to 144 months in prison and five years of supervised release. On February 25, 2013, Rivernider pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and 16 counts of wire fraud for operating two investment schemes that caused a loss of more than $25 million to individuals and lending institutions. A restitution order will be issued at a later date requiring Rivernider to pay full restitution to the victims of both schemes. According to court documents and statements made in court, between approximately June 2005 and April 2008, Rivernider and another individual conspired to defraud several victim investors by misrepresenting that the investors’ monies would be invested in legitimate, high-return investments. Instead of investing the funds as promised, they used the funds to pay their and their extended families’ living expenses, as well as the pre-existing debts of other investors. Through this first scheme, investors lost approximately $2.2 million. In a second scheme, between approximately November 2006 and December 2007, Rivernider and others engaged in a real estate investment conspiracy that defrauded both lenders and individuals they recruited. As part of the scheme, Rivernider and others recruited victim borrowers to take out financing to purchase various investment properties with financing from victim lenders. Rivernider and others victimized lenders by making multiple false representations in loan applications and other documents provided to the victim lenders. This scheme involved at least 100 properties. The investigation revealed that the victim lending institutions suffered more than $23 million in losses.
Defendant Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme
On December 18, 2013, in Houston, Texas, Charles Craig Jordan, of Los Angeles, Calif., was sentenced to 156 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $9,661,660 in restitution to 503 victims in the case. Jordan pleaded guilty on July 23, 2013 to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. According to court documents, Jordan and his co-defendant, Kelly Taylor Gipson, of Rockwall, Texas, devised a scheme to defraud investors from around the United States and Canada. The scheme required people to invest in the life settlement offerings of Secure Investment Services and American Settlement Associates of Houston. Jordan and Gipson misappropriated the investor funds by using them for personal purchases and not paying the policy premiums. This ultimately resulted in insurance policies lapsing and the investors losing their money. Gipson pleaded guilty on July 18, 2013 to conspiring to launder the proceeds from the fraud scheme and will be sentenced at a later date.
Florida Resident Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns, Access Device Fraud and Identity Theft
On December 16, 2013, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Harvey Zitron, of Boca Raton, Fla., was sentenced to 81 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date. Zitron was convicted by a jury trial on July 16, 2013 for filing fraudulent tax returns, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment, Zitron used companies to write checks to friends or acquaintances who cashed the checks and returned the cash to Zitron. Zitron then failed to declare this income on his tax returns. He also opened credit card accounts in the names of his son and ex-wife, and charged more than $1,000 in a single year on those accounts without their authorization or knowledge.
Three Sentenced in Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme
On December 16, 2013, in Portland, Ore., three defendants were sentenced for lying to and misleading clients about how they held and used millions in client funds while operating Summit Accommodators, Inc. Mark Neuman was sentenced to 78 months in prison, Tim Larkin was sentenced to 54 months in prison, and Lane Lyons was sentenced to 54 months in prison. In addition, the defendants must each serve three years of supervised release. On July 3, 2013, a jury convicted the three former owner/operators of Summit Accommodators, Inc. of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with a 10-year fraud scheme. About 10,000 clients entrusted them with almost $1 billion from 1999 to 2008. The defendants used $75 million of client funds for undisclosed personal investments in real estate, investments in businesses and loans to business associates and family members. Neuman and his business partner Brian Stevens, both Certified Public Accountants, created Summit in 1991 to help customers take advantage of lawful federal income tax deferral transactions. In a typical transaction, a customer would sell income producing property, allow Summit to hold the proceeds of the sale, and then buy another income producing property within 180 days. Federal income tax laws then allowed the customer to defer paying taxes on the profits from sale of the first property. In 2002, Neuman and Stevens hired Larkin as Summit’s Chief Operating Officer. In 2005, Neuman and Stevens hired Lyons as Summit’s in-house counsel. The trial evidence showed that although Neuman and Stevens began using their clients’ exchange funds for personal investments before 1999, they promised their clients their exchange funds would remain in Summit bank accounts and would only be used to complete their tax deferral exchanges. From 2004 through October 2008, Summit held between $49 million and $109 million of its customers’ money in a typical month. The defendants routinely transferred large amounts of client money to Inland Capital Corp., another company they owned and controlled. Through Inland, the conspirators used client funds for over 100 real estate projects in Central Oregon in which one or more of them had direct personal interests. Brian Stevens was sentenced in May 2012 to 48 months in prison.
Estate Planning CEO and Employee Sentenced for Obtaining Millions in Death Benefits in Names of Terminally-Ill Individuals
On December 16, 2013, in Providence, R.I., Joseph A. Caramadre was sentenced to 72 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Caramadre, the president, CEO and majority owner of Estate Planning Resources in Cranston, R.I., was sentenced for conspiring to steal and use the identities of terminally-ill patients to obtain millions of dollars in illicit profits from insurance companies and bond issuers. Raymour Radhakrishnan, a former employee of Caramadre, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release. Restitution for both will be determined at a later date. Caramadre and Radhakrishnan pleaded guilty on November 19, 2012 to conspiracy to commit identity theft and wire fraud. According to court documents, Caramadre and Radhakrishnan made misrepresentations to terminally-ill and elderly patients and their family members in order to obtain their personal identifying information. They used the information to obtain more than 200 variable annuities and to open more than 75 brokerage accounts in order to purchase “death-put" bonds in the victims’ names without their knowledge and consent. When the terminally-ill person died, Caramadre and others reaped substantial profits by exercising death benefits associated with the investments.
New York Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On December 12, 2013, in Rochester, N.Y., Patrick Dandrea, of Rochester, N.Y., was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to pay $466,007 in restitution. Dandrea was previously convicted of filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Dandrea was awarded a contract from Erie County in 2006 to remove damaged trees and branches following a storm. Dandrea received over $5,000,000 in payments which he failed to report on his 2006 and 2007 federal income tax returns resulting in a tax loss of over $460,000. In addition to being responsible for the tax loss, the defendant is also liable for interest payments and penalties of over $265,000 going back to 2006.
Louisiana Motel Owner Sentenced For Tax Fraud
On December 11, 2013, in New Orleans, La., Anil Patel, of Metairie, La., was sentenced to 13 months in prison. Patel pleaded guilty on September 4, 2013 to filing a false income tax return. According to court documents, on August 6, 2009, Patel filed a 2008 federal income tax return but did not report approximately $426,744 in income, which resulted in a $111,378 loss to the IRS. Patel was the former owner of the Trade Winds and La Village motels that were located in Metairie, La. As part of his plea agreement, Patel agreed to accept responsibility for failing to report $1,373,076 in total unreported income for the tax years 2006 through 2009. As a result, the tax due and owing to the IRS for those years is $393,048. Patel also agreed to pay both the parish and state taxes due and owing.
Owner of Gourmet Food Markets Sentenced for Participating in Massive Tax Fraud Scheme
On December 9, 2013, in New York, N.Y., Adem Arici, of Easton, Conn., was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $7 million. Arici pleaded guilty on June 4, 2013, to one count of conspiracy to commit tax and fraud offenses, four counts of subscribing to false and fraudulent federal personal income tax returns, nine counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false and fraudulent federal corporate, partnership, and payroll tax returns, and one count of witness tampering in connection with a federal investigation of individuals engaging in prohibited transactions in which a Cuban national had an interest. According to court documents, Arici was one of the leaders in a long-running tax fraud conspiracy in which more than $50 million in gross receipts from six gourmet food markets in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut was hidden from federal, state, and local tax authorities. Arici had an ownership interest in all six markets (The Markets) involved in the conspiracy and played an active management role. Most of the cash payments received from customers were diverted from the books and records of the Markets. The owners of the Markets used this cash to pay business expenses, including cash payroll, as well as to line their own pockets. They paid numerous employees, including undocumented foreign citizens, in cash. The owners of the Markets failed to withhold and pay to the IRS the withheld payroll taxes, and caused the preparation and filing of false returns with the IRS. Arici also avoided paying over $1 million in personal income taxes. On September 12, 2013, co-defendant Jody Vitale was sentenced to time served followed by two years of supervised release, and ordered to forfeit $354,166. On October10, 2013, Josefina Caraballo was sentenced to one year of probation, and ordered to forfeit $41,331.
Owner of New York Sportswear Distribution Business Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On December 6, 2013, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Harry Neuhoff was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and three years of supervised release for tax evasion. According to court documents, Neuhoff was the president and an owner of Eva Tees Inc., a wholesale distributor of sportswear. From approximately 2006 to 2008, Neuhoff manipulated Eva Tees accounts through his accounting software program to delete cash sales from the general ledger accounts maintained on the computer accounting system. As a result, Neuhoff caused false corporate tax returns to be filed with the IRS that under-reported the company’s gross receipts. During those years, Neuhoff’s behavior also resulted in his filing false personal income tax returns with the IRS. According to documents filed with the court, Neuhoff under-reported the gross receipts of Eva Tees by at least $1.5 million using computer manipulation.
Virginia Man Sentenced for Wire Fraud and Filing False Income Tax Returns
On December 6, 2013, in Alexandria, Va., Douglas G. “Bo” Taylor, of Remington, Va., the former chief of the Remington Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department (RVFD), was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Taylor was also ordered to pay restitution of $70,833 to the Remington Fire Department, $59,419 to the Prince William County Schools and $79,576 to the IRS. According to court records, Taylor served as the Chief of the RVFD from 1994 through 2011, during a time when the RVFD fire station underwent major renovations and reconstruction with funding, in significant part, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Taylor, a licensed master electrician, offered to do some of the renovations at the fire station and only seek reimbursement for his out of pocket expenses. Taylor then submitted false invoices which contained charges for materials Taylor did not purchase and charges for labor that, at times, was never performed or was inflated from the hours that were actually performed. Taylor also used a Prince William County Public Schools System credit card to purchase some of the materials used at the fire station project and elsewhere. Finally, Taylor did not disclose the money he fraudulently obtained from the RVFD and winnings from the Virginia lottery on two individual income tax returns filed with the IRS.
Missouri Apartment Manager Sentenced for Fraud Scheme
On December 5, 2013, in Springfield, Mo., Barbara J. Evans, of Carthage, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay approximately $206,000 in restitution. Evans pleaded guilty on October 3, 2012 to wire fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Evans was employed as a property manager for Preservation Housing Management (PHM), which owned the Deerfield Village, Highland Acres, and Highland Meadows. From 2003 through 2011, when a low-income tenant rented an apartment and qualified for Section 8 rental assistance/subsidies, Evans generally calculated the move-in rent amounts correctly. However, when tenants reported an increase in income, instead of reflecting the increased rent in the computer system, she delayed reporting the increased rent to PHM. As a result, tenants would pay the higher rent amount to Evans, but she continued to provide the lower rent payments to PHM. Evans pocketed the difference. In addition, Evans filed false federal income tax returns for the years 2006 through 2010 by failing to report $171,790 on her individual income tax returns, resulting in a total tax loss of $28,737.
Ohio Woman Sentenced for Tax Conviction
On December 3, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Margaret Monroe Greenaway, of Willowick, Ohio, was sentenced to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release for filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Greenaway filed income tax returns under her name during a prior marriage, Margaret M. Demaria-Susevich, using a “single” filing status, on which she claimed $1,326,671 for 2010 and $3,945,123 for 2011. Greenaway fabricated W-2 forms by using the employer information on her husband’s W-2 forms and inserted phony amounts of wages and withholding paid to her. Greenaway never worked for that employer.
Montana Man Sentenced for Concealing Assets and Making False Statements
On December 3, 2013, in Helena, Mont., Brad Charles Fisher, of Kenmore, Wash., was sentenced to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $729,794 in restitution. Fisher was convicted of attempting to evade or defeat income tax. According to trial evidence, from April 2006 until January 2008, Fisher attempted to evade and defeat the payment of an income tax due and owing by him to the United States for the calendar years 2001 to 2006 by concealing and attempting to conceal from the IRS the nature and extent of his assets and by making false statements to IRS agents. From 2001 through 2006, Fisher earned substantial amounts of income by selling insurance products. However, he did not file any tax returns for these years until mid-2006. After IRS began a civil audit of the 2001 through 2003 tax years, and later sent him a notice of tax deficiency for this period, Fisher eventually filed his 2001 through 2006 tax returns. In these tax returns, Fisher reported that he earned income and owed tax. However, he only paid a small portion of his tax due. In May 2006, Fisher provided an IRS agent with a partially completed Collection Information Statement where he failed to disclose all his assets. As IRS Collections proceeded toward seizure of Fisher’s assets, he filed for bankruptcy on November 14, 2007. During a subsequent bankruptcy hearing the IRS learned about all the assets that Fisher had previously concealed.
Colorado Man Sentenced for Income Tax Evasion
On December 2, 2013, in Denver, Colo., James G. Kreutzer, of Grand Junction, Colo., was sentenced to 38 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $186,473 in restitution. According to court documents, Kreutzer, through his company, Village Nursery, Inc., and various related entities he owned and/or controlled, engaged in real estate development and construction activities in Southwest Colorado. During 2001 through 2008, Kreutzer devised a scheme to defraud lenders, which included financial institutions, companies, and other persons. Personally and through his companies, Kreutzer repeatedly obtained new loans to service his prior loans, to pay his personal obligations and expenses, and to pay for his real estate purchases and construction activities. To obtain these loans, he routinely made materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises to financial institutions. By mid-2008, Kreutzer was no longer able to obtain money through new loans to pay previous lenders and others. In 2007 and 2008, Kreutzer’s personal expenses were reflected by the accountant he hired in the company's general ledger as accounts receivable which showed he took $1,132,917 from his company in 2007, none of which was reported as income on his 2007 tax return. In 2008 he took an additional $248,627, none of which was reported as income on his 2008 tax return. The personal expenses paid by the company in 2007 and 2008 included Kreutzer’s home mortgage payments for his two homes, his utility payments, his Mercedes Benz payments, his gambling expenses in Las Vegas, and jewelry purchases. Kreutzer paid no income tax to the IRS in 2007 and 2008.
Former Attorney Sentenced for Receiving Stolen Money and Filing False Tax Return
On November 25, 2013, in Buffalo, N.Y., Timothy Toohey, of Lewiston, N.Y., was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $540,000 in restitution to the Seneca Nation of Indians and $62,821 to the IRS. Toohey previously pleaded guilty to receiving money stolen from an Indian Tribal Organization and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, Toohey’s role was to bring together a land seller and the Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI) as the purchaser of a golf course site. During the course of negotiations leading up to the sale of property, Toohey and another individual entered into an unlawful agreement whereby each would receive a portion of the sale proceeds. They undertook affirmative measures to conceal their interest in the transaction, including the fact that they were each personally going to receive a portion the sale proceeds. During 2006, Toohey received approximately $202,000 of the sales proceeds. He failed to report the $202,000 as income on his 2006 tax return.
Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced for Role in Fraud Scheme
On November 25, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Lorraine Dispaldo was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $120,865 in restitution for her role in a fraud conspiracy with then-Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Robert Mulgrew. Dispaldo pleaded guilty to 36 counts including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, filing false personal income tax returns, and bankruptcy fraud. Dispaldo and Mulgrew, who is awaiting sentencing, carried out a scheme to defraud the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). According to court records, Dispaldo helped orchestrate the scheme to fraudulently receive and misuse Pennsylvania state grant funds awarded to non-profit groups. Between 1996 and 2008, the DCED awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to two community groups with which Mulgrew and Dispaldo were associated. DCED awarded approximately $397,000 in grants to the Community to Police Communications (CPC) to be used to purchase communications equipment for the police and to purchase materials to secure vacant lots and buildings for the protection of the police. Between 1997 and 2007, DCED also awarded approximately $460,000 in grants to the Friends of Dickinson Square (FDS) to be used for the maintenance of Dickinson Square, and the surrounding neighborhood. Instead of using grant funds exclusively for materials and equipment, Dispaldo paid tens of thousands of dollars in CPC and FDS grant funds to Mulgrew’s relatives and associates, and to the State Representative’s life-long friends. To mask the fact that grant funds were being used improperly, Dispaldo falsified her five CPC “close out” reports sent to DCED by concealing most of the $104,000 in payments she made to persons from CPC funds and FDS funds during 2005 through September 2010. At times, Dispaldo submitted to DCED inaccurate IRS Forms 1099, which document payments to persons, and at other times failed to prepare the forms, as required by law. Dispaldo also improperly paid almost $13,000 in CPC funds to the Representative’s office cleaner and improperly used $4,600 in CPC grant funds over the years to pay for her personal cell phone. In addition, Dispaldo filed false personal income tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2009, and concealed her true income for 2008 and 2009 in a 2010 bankruptcy filing.
Restaurant Chain Owners Sentenced for Cheating the IRS Out of Millions of Dollars
On November 21, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Brian F. Welsh, of Springfield, Pa., and Elena V. Ruiz, of Drexel Hill, Pa., two of the owners and managers of the restaurant chain “Nifty Fifty’s” were sentenced. Welsh was sentenced to 20 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Ruiz was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $7,500. According to court documents, Welsh and Ruiz along with three others conspired to commit tax evasion by constructing a long-running scheme to avoid paying millions of dollars in personal and employment taxes related to their restaurant chain. Their co-conspirators have been sentenced as follows:
• Joseph B. Donnelly was sentenced on November 20, 2013, to 28 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $25,000.
• Leo T. McGlynn was sentenced on November 19, 2013, to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $35,000.
• Robert D. Mattei, of Del Ray Beach, Fla., was sentenced on November 18, 2013, to 15 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined $35,000.
According to court documents, the conspirators not only evaded paying the taxes they owed, they filed income tax returns claiming they were due refunds based on the erroneous reporting of their incomes. The conspirators evaded paying taxes since the restaurant was established in 1986 by, among other things, paying employees a portion of their wages with unreported cash in order to evade payroll taxes; paying suppliers with cash; and having false tax returns prepared that under-reported income and falsely inflated expenses and deductions. Just between the years 2006 and 2010, the conspirators deliberately failed to properly account for $15.6 million in gross receipts, thereby evading $2.2 million in federal employment and personal taxes.
Utah Man Sentenced for Fraud, Money Laundering, and Tax Charges
On November 20, 2013, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jeffrey Charles Zander was sentenced to 68 months in prison and ordered to pay $202,543 in restitution. Zander was convicted of mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and willful failure to file tax returns. According to court documents, Zander began working for the Paiute Tribe around October 1998 as its tribal planner. Around September 2007, Zander convinced the Tribe to hire him as general counsel when, in truth, he did not possess a license to practice law. Beginning in 2005, Zander developed a scheme to divert more than $175,000 for his personal use that had been awarded to the Paiute Tribe through grant proposals the defendant had authored and assisted the tribe in applying for. The grants were awarded for Integrated Resource Management Plans (IRMP), which are long-term plans to balance the use of tribal resources between interests of residents of the reservation and revenue-generating uses of tribal lands. Zander told tribal leaders that he had hired companies in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, and Provo to act as consultants or facilitators to assist with the creation of the IRMPs. Zander told the tribe that since he would be traveling to work with the consultants or facilitators, he could hand-deliver progress payment checks to the companies. Evidence at trial showed the companies were bogus and created by the Zander to facilitate the fraud. Zander created fictitious invoices from the companies, submitted them for payment from the Tribe, and then drove to different points between Provo, Utah, and Mesquite, Nevada to deposit the checks into his personal bank accounts. He also drafted quarterly reports for the Bureau of Indian Affairs to show that the money was being spent for facilitators and consultants when, in truth, he had converted grant funds for his own use.
Former Law Enforcement Officer Sentenced for Extortion
On November 19, 2013, in Chicago, Ill., Lawrence A. Draus, aka Larry Draus, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $50,000. Draus previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit extortion. According to his plea agreement, Draus conspired to commit extortion by obtaining money and contraband cigarettes. Draus was a law enforcement officer for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and assigned to the Special Operations Division. He used the powers of the office to provide protection for a warehouse that was selling contraband cigarettes, which were cigarette cartons without the required tax stamps form the state and county and were manufactured outside of Illinois. Unbeknownst to Draus, the warehouse was operated by ATF agents conducting an undercover investigation. Draus received payments totaling $50,000 as well as cartons of contraband cigarettes from the warehouse as payments for the protection services he offered.
Ohio Man Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns
On November 18, 2013, in Columbus, Ohio, William David Taylor, Sr. of Canal Winchester, Ohio, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $46,227 in restitution to the IRS. On July 12, 2013, Taylor was convicted of two counts of willfully filing false federal income tax returns with the IRS. According to court documents, during 2006 and 2007, Taylor operated a construction consulting business. Part of his business involved convincing landowners to engage him in development projects that would involve both investors, as well as individuals, who would purchase plots and receive construction loans to build houses. Taylor served as the general contractor and, established business bank accounts that he controlled in order to develop the properties and build the houses. Taylor had failed to report on his federal income tax returns approximately $110,000 in income for 2006 and $189,000 for 2007.
Florida Resident Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On November 18, 2013, in Miami, Fla., Annabel Cooper was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $687,475 in restitution. Cooper previously pleaded guilty to an Information charging her with attempting to evade tax. According to court documents, between 2006 and 2009, Cooper evaded the payment of income taxes to the IRS by failing to accurately report her true income on her Form 1040. The total amount of income Cooper failed to report during the tax years in question was approximately $2,320,000, resulting in a tax loss of approximately $687,475.
Repeat Offender Sentenced for Tax Obstruction
On November 15, 2013, in Pittsburgh, Pa., Michael Carlow was sentenced to 35 months in prison. On January 4, 2013, Carlow pleaded guilty to tax obstruction. In 1996, Carlow pleaded guilty to bank fraud and tax fraud in federal court and was sentenced to eight years in prison. After his release in 2002, Carlow resided with his girlfriend, Elizabeth Jones, in Pittsburgh. According to court documents, the IRS assessed more than $6 million in overdue taxes, interest and penalties against Carlow for the years 1992 through 1996. However, from 2000 through 2011, in order to thwart efforts by the IRS to collect what he owed, Carlow concealed his assets and income through Jones and numerous nominee corporations. Carlow maintained a secret interest in various corporations and had fees and royalties paid to Jones rather than to himself. He also failed to report his ownership and control of corporate assets to the United States Probation Office and the IRS. Carlow filed false individual income tax returns for 2003 through 2006 and failed to file individual income tax returns from 2008 through 2011. In August 2011, Jones pleaded guilty to her conduct related to acting as a nominee for Carlow and is awaiting sentencing.
Michigan Couple Sentenced for Theft and Tax Offenses
On November 14, 2013, in Detroit, Mich., John McCarter and his wife, Katherine McCarter, were sentenced for their roles in a theft and tax scheme. John McCarter was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Katherine McCarter was sentenced to three years of probation. According to court documents, from August 2006 to October 2007, John McCarter’s stole six semi-trailers full of new tires and wheels. After breaking the locks and hitching the semi-trailers to their own cabs, McCarter and his accomplices transported the semi-trailers to Knox, Pennsylvania, where they sold them to a wholesale tire dealer. John McCarter failed to declare and pay taxes on approximately $759,000 from the sale of those stolen tires. Katherine lied to investigators about the source and purpose of the monies John had her deposit into her personal bank accounts to help hide the money.
Six Defendants Sentenced for Prepaid Funeral Scheme
On November 14, 2013, in St. Louis, Mo., six defendants were sentenced on more than 40 counts of fraud, money laundering, and related crimes.
• James Douglas Cassity was sentenced to 115 months in prison.
• David Wulf was sentenced to 120 months in prison.
• Randall K. Sutton was sentenced to 84 months in prison
• Brent Douglas Cassity was sentenced to 60 months in prison
• Howard A. Wittner was sentenced to 36 months in prison
• Sharon Nekol Province was sentenced to 18 months in prison
According to court documents, these defendants, acting through National Prearranged Services, Inc. and Lincoln Memorial Life Insurance Company, had defrauded more than 97,000 customers in more than 16 states, hundreds of funeral homes, and multiple financial institutions, causing more than $450 million in losses. Beginning as early as 1992 and continuing until 2008, NPS sold prearranged funeral contracts in several states, including Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio. During that time, insurance companies affiliated with NPS issued life insurance policies related to those prearranged funeral contacts. As part of the contracts, the total price for funeral services and merchandise for an individual was agreed upon, and that price would remain constant regardless of when the funeral services and merchandise would be needed. Customers entering into prearranged funeral contracts would usually pay a single sum of money up-front to NPS either directly or through a funeral home that was also a party to the contract. NPS represented to individual customers, funeral homes, and state regulators that funds paid by customers under the prearranged funeral contracts would be kept in a secure trust or insurance policy as required under state law. Court documents disclose, however, that NPS made use of funds paid by customers in ways that were inconsistent both with its prior and continuing representations and with the applicable state laws and regulations. Instead, NPS operated as a fraudulent Ponzi-like scheme, where customer funds were neither kept safe in bank trusts or insurance policies but instead were utilized for unauthorized purposes and the personal enrichment of NPS’s officers and others. In turn, new business became the source of funding for funerals that prior customers had previously paid for in advance. Victims of the scheme include individual customers, funeral homes and state insurance guarantee associations across the country.
Utah Man Sentenced for Investment Fraud Scheme
On November 13, 2013, in Salt Lake City, Utah, John S. Dudley, of Sandy, was sentenced to 60 months in prison and ordered to pay $6.8 million in restitution to victims of the fraud scheme. Dudley pleaded guilty in February 2013 to wire fraud in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme. According to court documents, Dudley induced individuals to invest money with him for use in various investment programs. He made a variety of misrepresentations to potential investors, including telling them they could expect monthly returns of 5-10 percent and he had not suffered a trading loss since 1978. In addition, he told investors that their funds would be used exclusively for investment purposes; that he had personally done very well in his investments and had never made less than 5 percent per month over the last 30 years; that investors’ money was backed by a “senior life settlement policy” that reduced or eliminated investors’ risk of loss; and that investing with him was an exclusive opportunity with only a limited number of investors allowed to invest with him at one time.
Indiana Woman Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Evasion
On November 13, 2013, in Indianapolis, Ind., Michele Spurgeon was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution for fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, Spurgeon admitted that from 1996 until 2011, she used her position at a Hamilton County business to orchestrate a sophisticated fraud scheme. The defendant would process all checks made payable to the company, but would withhold some of these checks, not depositing them into the company’s bank accounts. Instead, she would deposit these checks into a business account for a fraudulent company that Spurgeon created as a vehicle for her fraud. Over the course of the scheme, Spurgeon spent this money on a number of personal items. In addition, Spurgeon failed to report this additional money to the Internal Revenue Service.
Banker Sentenced for Failing to Report Embezzled Money on Tax Return
On November 12, 2013, in San Diego, Calif., Ricardo Adolfo Benavente III, a banker, was sentenced to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $88,952 in restitution to the IRS and to pay $293,023 in restitution to the bank. Benavente pleaded guilty on June 20, 2013 to one count of conspiracy to embezzle and one count of filing a false tax return. According to court documents, in 2009, using his bank privileges, Benavente stole approximately $293,000 from the accounts of four bank customers. In 2010, Benavente filed a personal income tax return for the tax year 2009 which failed to include the money he stole from bank customers. As a result, Benavente was able to avoid approximately $88,952 in personal income taxes.
Business Owner Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Structuring
On November 12, 2013, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Roger Santos, of Kahului, Maui, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, six months home confinement, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $317,599 in restitution to the IRS. Santos pleaded guilty on May 22, 2013 to one count of income tax evasion and one count of structuring. According to court documents, in 2008, Santos diverted approximately $959,883 from the checking account of the business he operated, Paradise Asian Foods, Inc., into multiple personal checking accounts. He then reported as income only the money that was deposited into the business account. These actions fraudulently lowered his taxable income by approximately $365,267 for the 2008 tax year. In addition, Santos deposited $30,000 in currency into multiple bank accounts on the same day in order to evade certain regulations relating to currency transactions.
Arkansas Man Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On November 7, 2013, in Little Rock, Ark., Richard Mathews, of Conway, Ark., was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $56,904 in restitution to the IRS. Mathews was convicted by a jury on July 30, 2013, of five counts of filing false income tax returns and one count of obstructing the IRS laws. According to court documents, Mathews was self-employed and operated a business soliciting members for a $99 joining fee into his system of making money by encouraging more members to join his online multi-level marketing network known as MMS and Wealth Team International (WTIA). Mathews only claimed $22,201on his federal tax for the five year period from 2004 to 2008, when in fact his bank records showed business deposits of $245,300. During the investigation, Mathews made false statements to and regarding actions taken by IRS agents, created a trust to avoid payment of taxes, and filed false returns.
Former Investment Adviser Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Evasion
On November 7, 2013, in Boston, Mass., John A. Picini, of North Attleboro, was sentenced to 121 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Picini was also order to pay $3.5 million in restitution to his investment clients and $490,000 in unpaid taxes to the IRS. On April 1, 2013, Picini pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges arising from his operation of a financial planning service called The Center for Senior Financial Planning. According to court documents, Picini targeted senior citizen investors as his clients and persuaded them to cash out annuities for the supposed purpose of investing with Picini. Picini failed to roll these sums over into annuities, as promised, and instead spent a total of $3.5 million of 70 victims’ retirement savings. Picini lulled his victims into believing that their funds were safely invested by producing bogus account statements and also by making periodic payments to his victims with money that supposedly represented investment earnings, but which were actually funds stolen from other victims. Furthermore, Picini filed false individual income tax returns with the IRS which substantially understated his true income.
Ohio Man Sentenced for Filing False Income Tax Returns
On November 7, 2013, in Dayton, Ohio, Gregory A. Johnson was sentenced to three years of supervised release, with the first twelve months to be served in home confinement, and ordered to pay $26,369 in restitution to the IRS. Johnson pleaded guilty on June 11, 2013 to willfully filing false federal income tax returns for the 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax years. According to court documents, in October 2009, Johnson filed his 2005, 2006, and 2007 federal income tax returns with the IRS. Johnson falsely claimed that $75,000 of his income for the 2005 income tax year, $140,000 of his income for the 2006 income tax year, and $120,000 of his income for the 2007 income tax year were earnings from his G. Allan Johnson Ministries which was not subject to self-employment taxes. However, the income was from a settlement of his employment as a chief financial officer with another company. By falsely including that income as income earned from G. Allan Johnson Ministries, Johnson under-reported his tax liability.
Mastermind of Multi-Million Dollar Naval Fraud Scheme Sentenced
On November 1, 2013, in Providence, R.I., Ralph M. Mariano, of Warwick, R.I., and South Arlington, VA., was sentenced to 120 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $17,957,000 in restitution to the United States Navy. Mariano pleaded guilty in May 2013 to conspiracy and theft of government funds. According to court documents, Mariano, a former senior systems engineer with the United States Navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Newport, R.I., and Washington, D.C., was the mastermind behind a kickback scheme which defrauded the United States Navy of nearly $18 million dollars. From 1999 to 2011, Mariano used his position at NAVSEA to direct a computer software specialist in Rhode Island, to submit millions of dollars in fraudulent invoices to Navy contractors and subcontractors. The invoices totaled approximately $17,957,000. In addition to pleading guilty to conspiracy and theft of government funds, Mariano also pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion. Mariano admitted that from 2006 to 2009, he failed to report $1,864,910 in income he received from the scheme.
Woman Sentenced for Role in Scheme to Defraud Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office
On October 30, 2013, in Philadelphia, Pa., Aarti Gupte, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $242,186 in restitution. In June 2013, Gupte was found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud. According to court documents, Gupte was involved in a scheme to steal funds from the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office (PSO) bank accounts which consists of funds from Sheriff’s sales of real estate. The sales require the PSO to write checks to different entities with regard to the properties sold. One of Gupte’s co-conspirators was a PSO employee in the Accounting Department. The co-conspirator wrote checks drawn on the PSO’s bank accounts made payable to individuals and companies. Gupte, who had two companies, was recruited to participate in the scheme. During the period from 2009 to 2010, the co-conspirator wrote four checks, totaling $242,186, which Gupte deposited into her company bank accounts. She then withdrew the proceeds and shared them with co-conspirators.
Virginia Bookkeeper Sentenced for Fraud
On October 29, 2013, in Newport News, Va., Julie Ann Stratton, of Poquoson, Va., was sentenced to 24 months in prison, one year of supervised release and ordered to pay $284,695 in restitution. Stratton pleaded guilty in June 2013 to two counts of making false statements on tax returns. According to court documents, Stratton was employed as a bookkeeper by several local businesses. In her capacity as a bookkeeper for these companies, Stratton was responsible for making bank deposits and for writing checks to pay vendors and expenses. Through a combination of removing cash from bank deposits, writing checks to herself, altering checks, making direct deposits into her bank account, and writing checks to fictitious vendors and fabricated expenses, Stratton defrauded the companies for approximately $358,000 from the years 2000 through 2011. In addition, Stratton signed and filed federal tax returns by failing to report the income derived from her embezzlement.
Illinois Businessman Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns
On October 18, 2013, in Springfield, Ill., Lakhvir Nijher, aka Tony Nijher, was sentenced to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $739,184 in restitution. Nijher previously pleaded guilty to mail fraud and filing false tax returns. According to court documents, Nijher falsely claimed he worked as a cashier at a gas station when, in truth, he owned the gas station and other businesses. Nijher filed a false federal corporate tax return for the gas station for the tax year 2010. Nijher reported the gas station had gross receipts of $3,980,618 whereas, Nijher knew the gas stations actual gross receipts for that year were approximately $4,729,798. Nijher also filed false monthly sales tax returns to the Illinois Department of Revenue understating business sales by approximately $6.3 million.
CEO of Produce Company Sentenced to Prison
On October 29, 2013, in Birmingham, Ala., Scott David Grinstead, chief executive officer of the now-defunct Adams Produce company, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Grinstead pleaded guilty in April 2013 to misprision of a felony, wire fraud and failure to file federal income tax returns. As part of his plea agreement, Grinstead agreed to pay $450,000 in restitution to the bankruptcy estate of Adams Produce to benefit the company’s employees who lost pay when Adams closed abruptly and filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Three other officials of Adams Produce, David Andrew Kirkland, Christopher Alan Pfahl and Stanley Joel Butler II, have also pleaded guilty. They were indicted in August in connection with fraud at the Birmingham-based company that had been a leading distributor of fresh fruits and vegetables across the Southeast for decades. According to court documents, the federal government, through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, was one of Adams’ customers. Adams Produce entered into contracts with the government worth millions of dollars. Kirkland, Butler, Pfahl, and another employee conspired to create false records that reflected a higher purchasing cost for fruits and vegetables from a national distributor than Adams Produce actually paid. The inflated costs were presented to the government, which had agreed to pay a certain amount over Adams cost for produce. Between August 4, 2011, and December 7, 2011, the Adams' employees and officers conspired to conduct at least 82 transactions with the national distributor that were designed to create false invoices and purchase orders. Through those false invoices, Adams Produce fraudulently received about $481,000 from the government. In addition, Grinstead failed to file income tax returns with the IRS for the calendar years 2009 and 2010 when he had gross income of about $2,627,501.
Ohio Man Sentenced for Fraud and Tax Evasion
On October 23, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio, Andrew J. Franz, of Aurora, Ohio, was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay $602,420 in restitution. According to court documents, Franz pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of investment adviser fraud and five counts of income tax evasion. According to court documents, Franz worked for an investment company and defrauded at least 10 clients by misappropriating customer funds for his own personal use. Franz submitted quarterly fee requests to mutual fund and annuity companies for payment of investment advisory fees for clients’ investment accounts. Franz then had these companies issue checks to his company, which he deposited into bank accounts he maintained and controlled. Franz also contacted a mutual fund company by telephone and, misrepresenting himself as the owner of a trust, caused the mutual fund company to mail payments to Franz’s personal residence. Franz then deposited these checks into bank accounts he maintained and controlled. Franz filed false tax returns for calendar years 2007, 2008, and 2009. He also failed to file an income tax return for 2010 and 2011.
California Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On October 23, 2013, in San Jose, Calif., Jonathan Jianguo Jiang was sentenced to 16 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $467,336 in restitution. Jiang also paid his civil tax liability, which includes penalties and interest, of over $3,000,000. On March 3, 2013, Jiang pleaded guilty to one count of income tax evasion for the 2004 tax year. According to court documents, Jiang, of Saratoga, Calif., incorporated SecureM in the Cayman Islands on January 28, 2004. He was the director, president, and sole shareholder of SecureM. On April 17, 2004, SecureM was sold to a United Kingdom company for at least $8,600,000. Jiang willfully omitted the capital gains from his 2004, 2005 and 2006 federal income tax returns, notwithstanding the fact that he received capital gains of at least $2.9 million between 2004 and 2006 from the sale of SecureM.
Two Men Sentenced for Their Roles in International High-Yield Investment Scheme
On October 18, 2013, in Boston, Mass., Alan Gilner, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., and Randi A. Bochinski, of British Columbia, Canada, were sentenced for their roles in a scheme to defraud investors out of millions of dollars. Gilner was sentenced to 84 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5.2 million in restitution. Bochinski was sentenced to 72 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $5.2 million in restitution. In June 2012, Gilner was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering following a seven-day jury trial. In May 2013, Bochinski pleaded guilty to wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering for his role in the scheme. According to court documents, Gilner and Bochinski promoted a series of purported high-yield investment programs to investors throughout the United States. The men promised extraordinary rates of return on the investments within a short period of time, and also pledged that investors’ principal would be insured or maintained in an escrow account. Once investors sent their money to either Gilner or Bochinski, the defendants diverted the funds for other uses, including their own personal use. In order to lull investors into believing that their funds had been invested as promised, Bochinski and Gilner typically made at least some purported “return” payments using money from other investors. In some instances, Bochinski and Gilner attempted to return principal to frustrated investors by using counterfeit checks.
New Jersey Man Sentenced for Fraud Schemes and Tax Evasion
On October 18, 2013, in Camden, N.J., George Sepero, of Glen Rock, N.J., was sentenced to 100 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $4,985,361 in restitution. Sepero pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and tax evasion. According to court documents, beginning in 2009, Sepero, along with two conspirators, claimed to run a series of hedge funds in New Jersey, luring investors with the prospect of extraordinary profits in foreign currency trading. The trio made numerous other misrepresentations and omissions to investors. However, Sepero and the conspirators invested little or no money in foreign currency or any other investment vehicle. They diverted the vast majority of victims’ investments to pay prior victims in Ponzi-scheme style and to finance extravagant personal expenditures. In a separate fraud scheme, after being fired from a financial institution as a financial planner, Sepero lied to a former client, an elderly, paraplegic woman with dementia, and her family, telling them he was still authorized to manage the annuity account. When his victim had money to add to the account, Sepero directed her to give him checks made payable to his company Casa Nostra Enterprises. Instead of transferring the money to the annuity account, Sepero spent it on his own expenses. To hide the fraud, Sepero fabricated a bogus account statement showing that the annuity account was worth more than $700,000, when, for the period covered by the statement, it actually contained $16. Sepero also pleaded guilty to tax evasion for the tax year 2010, as he derived income from his fraudulent activities, but did not file a tax return and deposited his victims’ money into his companies’ accounts.
Georgia Grocery Store Owner Sentenced for Food Stamp Fraud and Money Laundering
On October 18, 2013, in Macon, Ga., Elbert Eugene Shinholster, of Wilkinson County, Ga., was sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay $4,680,557 in restitution to the food stamp program, Department of Health and Services. Shinholster pleaded guilty on January 30, 2012 to federal charges of one count each of food stamp fraud and money laundering. As part of his plea, Shinholster admitted that, as the owner and operator of Shinholster’s Grocery and Meat Market located in Irwinton, Georgia, he illegally conspired with almost 2,000 food stamp recipients to defraud the food stamp program. As part of the scheme each food stamp recipient would provide Shinholster with an electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card and personal identification number. Shinholster would then run the EBT card through the point of sale machine administered by the Food Stamp Program as though the cardholder had purchased food when, in fact, the cardholder got cash instead. Shinholster admitted that he knew that an EBT card was to be used to purchase food only and not to be sold for cash. The illegal EBT debit would include an additional 30 percent of the cash amount as profit for Shinholster.
Arizona Man Sentenced for Role in Investment Fraud Scheme
On October 11, 2013, in Tucson, Ariz., Dino Sisneros was sentenced to 60 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $963,200 in restitution and to forfeit $861,000. Sisneros was convicted on June 25, 2013 of wire fraud and money laundering. According to evidence presented at trial, Sisneros orchestrated a real estate investment fraud scheme between 2006 and 2008. Sisneros misled investors by promising them high rates of return in exchange for their money which he said would be used to invest in real estate. However, instead of investing in real estate, he used large portions of his victims’ money for his own personal use. Sisneros received more than $900,000 from his victims but failed to pay his victims in return for their investments as he had promised.
Virginia Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On October 3, 2013, in Richmond, Va., Jeffrey Price Elliott, of Chesterfield, Va., was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $181,192 in restitution. Elliott pleaded guilty to a single count criminal information charging him with tax evasion. In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Elliott agreed that he had regularly and systematically evaded the payment of income taxes by under-reporting income from two contracting businesses he owned, Empire Masonry and Concrete, LLC, and J.P. Elliott, LLC. As part of the scheme, Elliott dealt mostly in cash, failed to keep adequate records, failed to report sums paid out to his workers and filed tax returns for the years 2006 and 2007 that under-reported Empire's income. Elliott also failed to file tax returns for the years 2008 or 2009.
Trustee Sentenced for Tax Evasion
On October 3, 2013, in Lubbock, Texas, Randy Lynn White was sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $211,165 in restitution. White pleaded guilty in June 2013 to an Information charging one count of tax evasion. According to the factual resume filed in the case, White admitted that he intentionally and willfully did not file required tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009 in order to evade the payment of taxes due and owing to the United States. White was the sole trustee of the Frank F. McMordie Jr Family Trust and derived substantial benefits and income from the Trust, both in administration fees paid to him and in monies he took from the Trust for his personal use. White had absolute control over the Trust’s assets, which consisted primarily of a large ranch in the Texas Panhandle that produced mineral interests. White paid himself excessive administrative fees and spent most of the Trust’s remaining money on extravagant personal expenditures. White attempted to conceal his extravagant expenditures by paying a relatively small amount of the Trust’s income to the Trust’s beneficiary, Frank F. McMordie III, who resided in Mexico. White also admitted that as part of his scheme to evade taxes, he disguised many of the funds that he diverted from the Trust’s bank account to his personal use by placing false business notations on the checks, falsely claiming that the expenditures were for business purposes. He falsely indicated that he was using the money for ranch operating expenses, when, in fact, the Trust did not operate any ranch.