Disgraced soccer star and indoor soccer team owner pleads guilty to massive tax fraud

 

Date: January 11, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Seattle — A former Seattle college soccer star, currently serving time for sexual assault in Arizona and on a second sexual assault case in King County, Washington, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to making false statements on a tax return. During a massive tax fraud scheme, Dion L. Earl purchased the Seattle Impact FC franchise, a professional indoor soccer club. According to the plea agreement between 2008 and 2014, Earl used false documents to lie about his income, the amount of tax dollars withheld by employers, and his mortgage deductions so that he could attempt to claim tax refunds of more than $1.6 million. Under the terms of the plea agreement, prosecutors will recommend Earl serve a one-year consecutive federal sentence following his 12-year sentence in Arizona and 33-month consecutive sentence in Washington State, for a total sentence of nearly 16 years in prison.

The actual sentence is up to U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik who has scheduled sentencing for April 9, 2021.

In the 1990's Earl was a soccer star at Seattle Pacific University. Between 2008 and 2014, EARL also worked in car sales in Washington State and Arizona and owned Dion Earl's Total Soccer & Tennis Camps, LLC, d/b/a Total Business Ventures, and the Seattle Impact, FC. In today's plea agreement, Earl admitted that he used his association with car dealers, Dion Earl's Total Soccer & Tennis Camps, and the Seattle Impact to commit tax fraud.

Earl specifically acknowledged that, on his 2012 Form 1040 tax return, he claimed that (1) he made $1,600,000 working for eight different car dealers, which withheld more than $660,000 of his wages for taxes, and (2) his wife was employed by Dion Earl's Total Soccer & Tennis Camps, which paid her $240,000 and withheld $51,000 in taxes, and (3) he made $520,000 in mortgage interest payments on four different properties. Earl admitted that, in fact, all these claims were false. That is, Earl admitted that during 2012, Earl made less than $45,000, from which he did not have any taxes withheld, and he paid limited mortgage interest. Pursuant to these false claims, Earl obtained a federal tax refund of $414,160.

Earl also admitted that even after the IRS began a civil audit of Earl's taxes in 2013, he continued to make false claims and provide false information to the IRS. For example, Earl admitted that, as late as 2015, he falsely claimed he and his wife made $765,000 from Dion Earl's Total Soccer & Tennis Camps, LLC, and the Seattle Impact FC, from which the businesses withheld $180,000 in taxes. In making these false claims, Earl sought a tax refund of $137,554. That refund was not paid, however.

In total, Earl sought $1.6 million in fraudulent tax refunds and was paid $1,093,534 by the IRS.

In the plea agreement, Earl also agreed to pay $600,000 in restitution to the State of Arizona, as a result of fraudulent tax returns he filed with that state. And, while Earl did not admit to submitting false income information to Key Bank in 2008, in order to qualify for a home equity line of credit—as was alleged in the Indictment—in the plea agreement, EARL agreed to make approximately $95,000 in restitution payments to Key Bank.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arlen Storm.