Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ralph S. Guastaferro, Jr. and his wife, Karen Sentenced on Money Laundering and Tax Fraud Charges


Source- http://www.fbi.gov/buffalo/press-releases/2011/williamsville-couple-sentenced-on-money-laundering-and-tax-fraud-charges

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Ralph S. Guastaferro, Jr. and his wife, Karen, both of Williamsville, New York, were sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge William J. Skretny. Ralph Guastaferro, who was convicted of money laundering, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and fined $100,000. Karen Guastaferro, who was convicted of failing to collect and pay over taxes, was sentenced to three years’ probation, including six months home confinement. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $56,670.58 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryEllen Kresse, who handled the cases, stated that Ralph Guastaferro operated a business called Eclipse Processing, Inc. As part of a money laundering scheme, Guastaferro opened accounts with two payment processing companies in California and Ohio. Those accounts were used by certain unscrupulous telemarketers, many of whom were located in Canada, to process alleged sales of some product or service. However, many of the victims whose checking accounts were debited had never purchased any product or service. After the victims accounts were debited, the payment processing companies transferred the funds to bank accounts controlled by the defendant in Buffalo, New York. Guastaferro then wire transferred the funds, less a percentage, to the telemarketers in Canada. This was done in an attempt to conceal the nature and source of the funds. The defendant admitted that the total amount of the funds involved in his criminal conduct was $1.2 million.

Karen Guastaferro owned and operated Eclipse Glass Tinting, Inc., a glass tinting and automotive accessory business located in Clarence, New York. From 2004 through 2008, Mrs. Guastaferro employed between five and seven people at the business. Although Guastaferro had a duty to collect and truthfully account for and pay over federal employment taxes for each of her employees, the defendant was convicted of lying to the IRS about how many employees she had and how much she paid them, thus intentionally failing to account for and pay over the required federal employment taxes for those employees.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wayne Chih-Wei Shu Sentenced for Counterfeit Software Scheme


Source- http://seattle.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/se062711.htm

WAYNE CHIH-WEI SHU, 44, of Battleground, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to three years in prison, three years of supervised release, and $687,633 in restitution for charges stemming from his scheme to profit from selling counterfeit Microsoft software, and his failure to file income tax returns. SHU pleaded guilty to Mail Fraud, Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods, Trafficking in Illicit Labels, and two counts of wilful failure to file tax returns on January 13, 2011, right after opening statements in his trial. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle said, “Our economy greatly depends on protection of all property rights including intellectual property rights.”

According to records filed in the case, SHU owned and operated various entities that advertised and sold counterfeit and tampered with software over the internet. The companies operated under the names Micro Sharp, Inc., Micro Sharp Technologies, Inc., Microsharp.com., Inc., and Meet Your Price, Inc. SHU offered Microsoft products for sale over the internet. The products were counterfeit, tampered with, or infringed on copyrights owned and held by others. SHU engaged in a practice known as “kitting”; selling software products that contained a mix of some genuine components with other components that were counterfeit or tampered with. The “kitting” made it more difficult for customers to determine that the software was counterfeit. SHU also used counterfeit licenses and certificates of authenticity to fool consumers who thought they were purchasing licensed Microsoft products. Pursuant to a law passed by Congress in 2004, it is illegal to traffic in stand alone certificates of authenticity absent the software that the certificate was designed to authenticate. SHU continued his sales of counterfeit software and stand alone certificates of authenticity even after Microsoft sent him numerous “cease and desist” letters over several years. As part of his plea agreement, SHU admitted that he sold up to $1 million worth of counterfeit software and illicit certificates of authenticity during the course of the scheme.

When law enforcement executed a court authorized search warrant at SHU’s residence on June 20, 2007, they seized an estimated $2.6 million worth of software that included genuine software, counterfeit software, illicit labels of authenticity, and software that had been tampered with in order to disguise its origin. Analysis revealed that 41 percent of the products were counterfeit or tampered with. The investigation also revealed that SHU and his wife stopped filing personal or corporate income tax returns in 2004, resulting in a combined tax loss of over $650,000 in tax years 2004, 2005, and 2006. SHU’s wife, Maynila Voravongseng, was sentenced on May 24, 2011, to imprisonment for a term of 30 days, based on her conviction of failure to file tax returns for these same years. The couple has agreed to work with the IRS to determine their tax liabilities for 2004-2007.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the couple is forfeiting to the government a 2000 Mercedes, nearly $70,000 in cash and bank accounts, and equity in their home.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hannah Noel Perlich Indicted in $3 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.fbi.gov/minneapolis/press-releases/2011/former-loan-officer-indicted-in-3-million-mortgage-fraud-scheme

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court, a former loan officer from Minneapolis was indicted in connection with a $3 million mortgage fraud scheme that involved six properties. Hannah Noel Perlich, age 29, was charged with six counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection to the crime. Perlich worked as a loan officer for two mortgage brokerage companies—St. Joseph’s Financial and Legacy Lending.

The indictment alleges that from 2005 through 2006, Perlich, aided and abetted others, obtained mortgage loan proceeds through fraud. The purpose of the alleged scheme was to obtain mortgage loans in substantially higher amounts than the purchase price of the properties involved. This was accomplished through the use of inflated appraisals and fraudulent underwriting and loan documentation. Allegedly, Perlich caused the false loan applications to be provided to potential lenders. In addition, Perlich allegedly concealed payments to herself from the loan proceeds by diverting them to buyers and other co-conspirators.

Several co-conspirators already have been sentenced for their roles in the scheme, while others were recently charged.

If convicted, Perlich faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count. All sentences will be determined by a federal district court judge. This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christian S. Wilton.

This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Barbara J. Singletary Indicted for Federal Prison Tax Fraud Scheme


Source- http://springfield.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/si062311.htm

An O’Fallon, Missouri, woman was indicted on June 23, 2011, for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and Money Laundering, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. Barbara J. Singletary, age 62, was indicted for her role in assisting her son, Michael S. Chaney, commit tax fraud while incarcerated in FCI Greenville.

According to the Indictment, Singletary was charged for participating in an income tax refund scheme where the participants supplied fictitious tax returns and bogus IRS Forms W-2 to numerous state taxing authorities to falsely claim that inmates - and their friends and family members - had earned income in those states and were owed a tax refund. Singletary mailed blank tax forms along with documents necessary to create false Forms W-2 to Chaney in prison. Chaney then completed the fraudulent returns and mailed them back to Singeltary. The mailings to Singletary were purportedly addressed to a law firm located at her home so prison staff would not review their contents. After receiving the packages, Singletary mailed each of the returns to the applicable state taxing authorities in order to claim the refunds.

 The Indictment alleges that Chaney personally completed fraudulent tax returns to nine (9) different state taxing authorities which resulted in those states being defrauded out of $152,893. Singletary opened multiple bank accounts to receive the fraudulent refunds, which helped conceal the existence of the scheme as well as the identity of the coconspirators. Singletary also withdrew money obtained from the tax refund scheme to purchase marijuana that was smuggled into the prison through another inmates’ spouse during visitation. Chaney and the other inmate sold the marijuana for profit to federal inmates residing at FCI Greenville. Singletary filed tax returns for herself in Hawaii, Oregon, Kentucky, Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, Colorado, Maryland, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, falsely claiming approximately $49,000 in fraudulent state income tax refunds.



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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Michael S. Chaney was Charged for Participating in an Income Tax Refund Scheme


Source- http://springfield.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel11/si062111.htm

A federal prisoner incarcerated at FCI Greenville was convicted in U.S. District Court on June 21, 2011, for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud and Money Laundering, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today.

Michael S. Chaney, 41, originally from St. Charles, Missouri, pled guilty to a one-count Information. Chaney was charged for participating in an income tax refund scheme where the participants supplied fictitious tax returns and bogus IRS Forms W-2 to numerous state taxing authorities to falsely claim that inmates—and inmates’ friends and family members—had earned income in those states and overpaid their state income taxes, thereby entitling them to a tax refund. Chaney personally completed fraudulent tax returns to nine (9) different state taxing authorities which resulted in those states being defrauded out of $152,893. An individual outside of the prison opened multiple bank accounts to receive the fraudulent refunds, which helped conceal the existence of the scheme as well as the identity of the coconspirators. Chaney used money obtained from the tax refund scheme to purchase marijuana that was smuggled into the prison during visitation and resold for a profit.

At his sentencing, which has not yet been set by the District Court, Chaney faces up to an additional five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years’ Supervised Release.


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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Robert E. Maloney Jr. Indicted in Multi-Million Dollar Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracies


Source- http://www.fbi.gov/atlanta/press-releases/2011/former-bank-lawyer-indicted-in-multi-million-dollar-fraud-and-money-laundering-conspiracies

ATLANTA, GA—ROBERT E. MALONEY, JR., 47, of McDonough, Georgia, was arraigned on federal charges this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Janet F. King. A superseding indictment charges MALONEY and two former top officers of “FirstCity Bank” of Stockbridge, Georgia: MARK A. CONNER, 45, formerly of Canton, Georgia, and Tallahassee, Florida, and CLAYTON A. COE, 44, of McDonough, Georgia, with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and related crimes in connection with misconduct at FirstCity Bank in the years before the bank’s seizure by state and federal authorities on March 20, 2009.

A federal grand jury in Atlanta returned the superseding indictment against CONNER, COE, and MALONEY on June 22, 2011. The grand jury previously returned an indictment against CONNER and COE on March 16, 2011. Federal agents arrested CONNER and COE on March 20 and March 27, 2011, respectively, upon their return to the United States from the Turks and Caicos Islands in the British West Indies. U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones has ordered CONNER to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial, based on a risk of flight. COE was released to home detention and electronic monitoring. Arraignments for CONNER and COE on the superseding indictment have been scheduled for July 1, 2011 before United States Magistrate Judge Janet F. King.

FDIC Inspector General Jon Rymer said, “The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) is pleased to join our law enforcement colleagues in announcing the indictment of Mr. Maloney for his alleged role in this multi-million dollar bank fraud and associated money laundering activities. It is especially important to investigate and prosecute cases where trusted professionals, such as attorneys who owe a fiduciary duty to the bank, violate that duty and abuse their positions to undermine the integrity of the financial services industry. The FDIC OIG is particularly concerned when fraudulent schemes mislead the FDIC’s examiners and contribute to bank failures that cause losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund. We are committed to preventing such threats to the safety and soundness of FDIC-insured banks throughout the country.”

Christy L. Romero, Acting Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said, “Today’s indictment involves another unfortunate example of allegedly brazen criminal conduct by senior bank officials who tried to conceal their fraud from regulators and improperly access TARP funds. As the bank’s top legal officer, Maloney maintained a position of trust within the bank and had a special duty to prevent and detect misconduct. The indictment alleges that Maloney violated his important gatekeeper responsibilities and conspired with Conner and Coe in a criminal scheme that victimized unwitting federally-insured banks who invested millions of dollars into fraudulent loans. Fortunately, their attempts to victimize Treasury and the American taxpayers by obtaining TARP funds were unsuccessful. SIGTARP will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to bring to justice those who sought to cover their fraud with taxpayer dollars through TARP.”

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael McDaniel said, “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to protecting the integrity of our financial institutions and we will use all the legal tools available to assist in the investigation and prosecution of those who attempt to damage that integrity.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: CONNER served in a variety of top positions at FirstCity Bank between 2004 and 2009, including as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, as a member of the banks' loan committee, as President, and later as acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. COE served as a Vice President and as FirstCity Bank’s Senior Commercial Loan Officer. MALONEY served as FirstCity Bank’s in-house counsel, or corporate counsel, between 2006 and 2009. While serving in these positions, CONNER, COE, MALONEY, and their co-conspirators allegedly conspired to defraud FirstCity Bank’s loan committee and Board of Directors into approving multiple multi-million dollar commercial loans to borrowers who, unbeknownst to FirstCity Bank, were actually purchasing property owned by CONNER or COE personally.

The indictment charges that CONNER, COE, MALONEY, and their co-conspirators misrepresented the essential nature, terms, and underlying purpose of the loans and falsified documents and information presented to the loan committee and the Board of Directors. CONNER, COE, and their co-conspirators then allegedly caused at least 10 other federally-insured banks to invest in, or “participate in” the fraudulent loans based on these and other fraudulent misrepresentations, shifting all or part of the risk of default to the other banks. COE’s bonus compensation was tied to the origination of FirstCity Bank loans, including the fraudulent loans with which he and CONNER allegedly assisted each other. MALONEY is alleged to have taken extra payments in the form of “legal fees” from the fraudulent transactions, even though as corporate counsel he was actually a salaried employee of FirstCity Bank. He also allegedly helped launder and distribute funds to or for the benefit of CONNER, COE, other co-conspirators, or to himself through an attorney trust account maintained at the bank.

In the process of defrauding FirstCity Bank and the “participating” banks, CONNER, COE, MALONEY, and their co-conspirators allegedly routinely misled federal and state bank regulators and examiners to conceal their unlawful scheme. They also unsuccessfully sought federal government assistance through the U.S. Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (“TARP”) and engaged in other misconduct in an attempt to avoid seizure by regulators and prevent the discovery of their fraud.

The superseding indictment charges CONNER, COE, and MALONEY with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, making false entries in the records of an FDIC-insured financial institution, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. It also charges CONNER alone with conducting a continuing financial crimes enterprise at the bank between February 2006 and February 2008, during which CONNER’s and his co-conspirators' crimes allegedly generated over $5 million in unlawful gross proceeds, and it charges COE alone with making a false federal credit application.

The charges for bank fraud conspiracy, bank fraud, false entries, and making a false credit application carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a potential fine of up to $1 million on each count. The charge against CONNER for conducting a continuing financial crimes enterprise carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison, a maximum sentence of life in prison, and a potential fine of up to $10 million. The money laundering conspiracy charge against CONNER, COE, and MALONEY carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a potential fine of up to twice the value of criminally-derived funds. In determining the actual sentences for each defendant, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.


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Friday, June 24, 2011

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Five in $9 Million Mortgage Fraud Scheme


Source- http://www.fbi.gov/dallas/press-releases/2011/federal-grand-jury-indicts-five-in-9-million-mortgage-fraud-scheme

DALLAS—A federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment this week charging five individuals with various offenses related to their operation of a mortgage fraud conspiracy in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas.

Defendants Fredrick Lee Moore, 38, of Dallas, Texas; Fredrick Barnard Lynch, 39, of Desoto, Texas; Randell Dean Miller, 43, of Arlington, Texas; Halid Amer, 39, of Grand Prairie, Texas, and Theresa Fey Barsema, 48, of Mesa, Arizona, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Miller appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney. Moore and Lynch will make their initial appearances tomorrow, June 24, at 2:00 p.m., before Judge Stickney. It is anticipated that Amer will appear before Judge Stickney on Monday, June 27, and Barsema will make her initial appearance at a later date before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Arizona.

Defendants Fredrick Moore is also each charged with two counts of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with criminally derived property.

Defendant Theresa Barsema is charged with one count of bank fraud, four counts of wire fraud and one count of engaging in a monetary transaction with criminally derived property.

Defendant Fredrick Lynch is also charged with four counts of wire fraud.

Defendant Randell Miller is also charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.

Defendant Halid Amer is also charged with three counts of wire fraud.

According to the indictment, Frederick Moore was involved with Empirical Investments, a real estate entity. Fredrick Lynch was involved with ADJ Mortgage, PLLC, also a real estate entity. Randell Miller was involved with Benchmark Mortgage and Supreme Lending; Halid Amer was involved with Accurate Investments, and Theresa Barsema was a licensed escrow officer who worked at First American Title Insurance, Alamo Title Company, First Commitment Title, First Land Title and Capital Title of Texas, in Flower Mound, Texas.

The indictment alleges that from April 2005 to April 2007, the defendants ran a scheme in which they located single-family residences for sale in the DFW area, including excess inventory, distressed and pre-foreclosure properties, and negotiated a sales price with the seller. They fraudulently received loan proceeds when they submitted various fraudulent invoices to the title companies that falsely represented that the defendants had performed various work related to the property, such as various consulting or legal services. The defendants deceived lenders when they caused the sellers to sign an “Authorization for Disbursement of Proceeds” to provide a means for the conspirators to receive part of the loan proceeds without disclosing the disbursement on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement.

The defendants recruited individuals to act as “straw purchasers” or “straw borrowers,” promising to pay them a bonus or commission of between $3,500 and $25,000 for their participation in a particular real estate transaction. The conspirators caused the loan applications for each straw borrower to include false financial information, often including inflated false income figures to conceal the borrower’s true financial condition so that the lender would more likely approve the loan. The conspirators concealed from the lenders the true status, financial condition and intentions of the named borrowers, knowing that loans would not likely be approved if the lender knew the true role, credit worthiness, and risk of each straw borrower. The conspirators falsely represented in loan documents that the straw purchaser intended to use the property as their primary residence, intentionally concealing from lender that each straw borrower, viewed himself as an “investor,” who never intended to occupy the home.

The scope of the conspiracy involved approximately 23 fraudulent residential property loan closings resulting in the funding of approximately $8.8 million in fraudulent loans. Properties noted in the indictment include:

959 Fairway Drive, Duncanville, Texas

4006 Mendenhall Drive, Dallas

5828 Mossbrook Drive, Dallas

1525 Registry Drive, Desoto, Texas

4007 Bowden Hill Lane, Colleyville, Texas

5813 Hunter Trail, Colleyville, Texas

6909 Admiral’s Cove Court, Plano, Texas

1414 Travis Circle North, Irving, Texas

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted however, the conspiracy and each bank fraud counts carries a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Each of the wire fraud counts, upon conviction, carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The money laundering count carries, upon conviction, up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the amount of the criminally derived property received. In addition, restitution could be ordered. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation which would require the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit the total amount of proceeds obtained, directly, or indirectly, as a result of the offense.


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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kenneth H. Nix and Velma I. Salinas-Nix Both Charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the U.S. & Filing False Tax Returns and Ethics Forms


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-tax-821.html

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kenneth H. Nix and Velma I. Salinas-Nix, both of Boerne, Texas, were indicted by a federal grand jury in San Antonio on a multi-count indictment alleging tax fraud and false statements to the U.S. government, the Justice Department announced today. The Nixes were charged with one count of conspiring for the dual purpose of impeding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in assessment and collection of income taxes and making false statements to the government, and four counts of filing false tax returns with the IRS. Velma Salinas-Nix also was charged with two counts of making false statements to the U.S. government by filing false financial disclosure ethics forms.

According to the indictment, the Nixes, both former high-level contracting officials with the U.S. Army, conspired between 2003 through 2010 to impede the IRS in the assessment and collection of income taxes and to make false statements to the federal government to conceal income that Kenneth Nix earned from a federal contractor to whom he awarded approximately $1.3 million in military contracts. To conceal this income, the Nixes were paid in cash, blank money orders and checks in another person’s name, among other things. They also structured cash deposits into their joint bank accounts, cashed money orders using false payor names, submitted false financial disclosure forms to the Army and filed false tax returns.

The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years’ in prison and a $250,000 fine. The false tax return charges each carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The false statement charges against Velma Salinas-Nix each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Michael Jackson’s Former General Manager Raymone Bain, Pleads Guilty to Tax Charges in Washington, D.C., Court



Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-tax-815.html

WASHINGTON - Raymone Bain, a public relations specialist and the former general manager of the late pop star Michael Jackson, pleaded guilty today in federal court in Washington, D.C., to charges that she failed to file federal and District of Columbia income tax returns, the Justice Department, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) announced.

Bain, a resident of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty to two counts of failure to file federal income tax returns (Forms 1040) and District of Columbia income tax returns (Forms D-40). U.S. Magistrate Alan Kay scheduled sentencing for Aug. 31, 2011. The federal criminal violation carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison and a $100,000 fine. The District of Columbia criminal violation carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and $5,000 fine.

According to the evidence presented in court, Bain worked in the sports and entertainment industry in the District of Columbia and founded her public relations firm, Davis, Bain & Associates. Beginning in 2006, Bain became personal general manager for the performer Michael Jackson and president of the Michael Jackson Company. In that capacity, she was responsible for daily operations of the Michael Jackson Company, including financial, public relations and marketing tasks. Bain was compensated for her services.

Despite earning substantial income, Bain knowingly failed to file her federal her District of Columbia income tax returns, and she failed to pay income taxes owed during 2006 through 2008. According to the plea documents filed in court today, the tax loss is between $200,000 and $400,000.



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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sean Roberts and Nadia Roberts Plead Guilty to Hiding Assets in Secret Swiss Bank Account


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-tax-800.html

WASHINGTON – Sean Roberts and Nadia Roberts of Tehachapi, Calif., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii of the Eastern District of California to a criminal information charging them with filing a false tax return related to an undisclosed Swiss bank account that they maintained at UBS, as well as other offshore bank accounts, the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the Robertses pleaded guilty to filing a false 2008 individual U.S. income tax return in which they failed to report that they had an interest in or a signature authority over a secret Swiss financial account at UBS, as well as several other foreign accounts, failed to report income earned on the foreign accounts, and falsely deducted transfers from their domestic business to the foreign accounts on their corporate tax returns. The false deductions allowed the Robertses to under-report their income on their individual income tax returns. The Robertses own and operate the National Test Pilot School and Flight Research Incorporated in Mojave, Calif. National Test Pilot School is a non-profit educational institute that trains test pilots from domestic and foreign aerospace industries and governments. Flight Research Inc. owns and maintains most of the aircraft used by the school.

In or about 1991, the Robertses opened a bank account at an Isle of Man branch of a United Kingdom bank, in the name of nominee entity Interline Trade Associates Limited. From at least 2002 through 2004, the Robertses transferred funds from their company, Flight Research Incorporated of Mississippi (FRI Mississippi), to the Interline account, and caused the transfers to be falsely deducted as interest payments on corporate income tax returns as a sham aircraft loan.

In or about 1995, the Robertses, with the assistance of a UBS banker, established an account in their own names at UBS in Switzerland. In 2004, the Robertses, with the assistance of an account manager at a Zurich-based financial services company, acquired a nominee Hong Kong entity called Excalibur Investments Limited and opened a new UBS account in Excalibur’s name. In July 2004, the Robertses closed the UBS account in their own names and transferred the assets to the nominee Excalibur UBS account. In February 2005, the Robertses also closed their Interline account and, with the assistance of the Zurich account manager, transferred the assets to the Excalibur UBS account. From 2004 through 2008, the Robertses transferred more than $1.2 million from FRI Mississippi to the Excalibur UBS account, and caused the transfers to be falsely deducted as interest payments on corporate income tax returns as a sham aircraft loan.

In or about May 2008, the Robertses closed their Excalibur UBS account and, with the assistance of the Zurich account manager, transferred more than $4.8 million to an account in Excalibur’s name at a Swiss branch of a Liechtenstein bank. This was done after the account manager informed the Robertses that UBS was under investigation by U.S. authorities and that they should leave UBS to ensure the continued secrecy of their account. In 2008, the Robertses transferred more than $1.4 million from FRI Mississippi to the Excalibur account at the Liechtenstein bank, and again caused the transfers to be falsely deducted on a corporate income tax return. Also in May 2008, the Robertses, again with the assistance of the Zurich account manager, opened a bank account in the name of Modest Winner, a nominee Hong Kong entity, at the Liechtenstein bank. In 2008 and 2009, the Robertses transferred funds from another of their entities, Tisours LLC, to the Modest Winner account. In 2009, with the assistance of the Zurich account manager, the Robertses transferred that account to a bank in Hong Kong. The Robertses also maintained numerous undeclared foreign bank accounts in New Zealand and South Africa held in their own names.

The Robertses admitted to filing false tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2008 that concealed their interest in these various offshore accounts, failing to report income earned from these accounts, and falsely deducting transfers from their business to these accounts. The Robertses also admitted that they never filed reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) disclosing their interest in any offshore financial accounts. As part of their plea agreements, the Robertses agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $709,675, and to pay a 50 percent penalty for the one year with the highest balance in their offshore accounts in order to resolve their civil liability for failing to file FBARs, Forms TD F 90-22.1.

In February 2009, UBS entered into a deferred prosecution agreement under which the bank admitted to helping U.S. taxpayers hide accounts from the IRS. As part of their agreement, UBS provided the United States government with the identities of, and account information for, certain U.S. customers of UBS's cross-border business, including the Robertses.

Sentencing has been set for Sept. 6, 2011, and the Robertses remain free on bail pending sentencing, where each faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison.


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Monday, June 20, 2011

Becky M. McCord Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Evasion and Bankruptcy Fraud Charges


Source- http://www.fbi.gov/atlanta/press-releases/2011/former-dawson-county-public-official-pleads-guilty-to-federal-tax-evasion-and-bankruptcy-fraud-charges

GAINESVILLE, GA—BECKY M. MCCORD, 62, of Dawsonville, Georgia, pleaded guilty today to one count of federal tax evasion and one count of bankruptcy fraud before United States Magistrate Judge Susan Cole. McCORD admitted that while working as the Clerk of Court for Dawson County Superior Court, she stole more than $120,000 of county monies and failed to pay taxes on the additional income or report it on her pending bankruptcy petition.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “In this time of tight budgets and fiscal austerity, the harm caused by corrupt public officials is magnified. This Dawson County court employee abused her position of trust and will soon face the consequences of her criminal actions.”

Brian D. Lamkin, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta, said, “The FBI understands the harm done by individuals betraying their public trust and, as such, ensures that these types of allegations are given the attention that they deserve. Anyone with information concerning criminal conduct of public officials should not hesitate to contact their nearest FBI office.”

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael McDaniel said, “Instead of serving the public of Dawson County, the defendant in this case chose to instead serve herself to the public’s funds and then not report the ill gotten gains on her tax returns. Those who line their pockets with public monies should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: McCORD served as the Clerk of Court for the Superior Court of Dawson County, Georgia, from 1993 to February 2010. Between 2006 and 2009, McCORD wrote and signed over $120,000 worth of checks payable to herself from the Dawson County Superior Court’s bank account to which she was not entitled. McCORD then cashed those checks at various banks in Dawsonville and used the funds for personal expenses such as a car loan and mortgage payments.

McCORD did not report the stolen funds on her 2009 federal tax return nor did she report additional legitimate income that she received from the collection of passport fees. McCORD also failed to report this income on a bankruptcy petition that she filed jointly with her spouse in December 2007, and amended several times through June 2009.

McCORD could receive a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. In determining an appropriate sentence, the Court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.


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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Betty Washington Sentenced for Roles in Tax Fraud Conspiracy


Source- http://www.justice.gov/tax/txdv11785.htm

WASHINGTON - Betty Washington, a resident of Montgomery County, Ala., was sentenced today to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,440,632 for conspiring to file false claims for refunds, the Justice Department announced. Wendy Delbridge, also of Montgomery County, was sentenced to five days in jail time and six months home confinement for her role in the same conspiracy and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $45,219. Both women pleaded guilty in January 2011.

According to court documents, between October 2009 and September 2010, Washington conspired with others to fraudulently obtain tax refunds. The conspiracy involved using stolen identities to file false income tax returns claiming refunds. At the behest of co-conspirator Alchico Grant, Washington opened up a bank account at a local bank to receive tax refunds from the scheme. Sixteen different refunds, issued in the name of 16 different individuals, were deposited into the bank account. When the bank closed the account because of the suspicious nature of the deposits, Washington opened new bank accounts at a credit union in her name and in the name of Central Alabama Financial Services. Over the course of several months, more than 300 false refunds were deposited into these bank accounts, totaling more than $1.4 million in fraudulent refunds. To distribute the fraudulent refunds, Washington wrote checks and obtained official checks payable to various co-conspirators and associates and withdrew refund money in cash as well. She retained a portion of the refunds for herself.

Delbridge played a similar role. At co-conspirator Veronica Dale’s direction, she also set up a bank account at a local bank to receive fraudulent refunds. When the bank closed the account because it was receiving tax refunds that were not in Delbridge’s name, she opened a new bank account at a credit union. Between February 2010 and June 2010, the two bank accounts received more than $50,000 in false tax refunds, which Delbridge withdrew in cash and provided to Dale. In return, Delbridge was paid a portion of the fraudulently obtained refunds.

Along with three other co-defendants, Dale and Grant were indicted in December 2010 for their roles in the conspiracy. Grant was indicted a second time in April 2011 for again being involved in a scheme to fraudulently obtain tax refunds using stolen identities. On April 28, 2011, Grant’s pretrial release was revoked and he was ordered detained. Both Dale and Grant are currently awaiting trial.


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Friday, June 17, 2011

Five Alabama Tax Return Preparers Charged with Tax Fraud


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-tax-782.html

WASHINGTON – A group of five tax return preparers were indicted in the Middle District of Alabama on tax fraud charges, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. James E. Moss, who owned and operated “Flash Tax,” was charged with four of his employees by a grand jury sitting in Montgomery, Ala. Moss along with Lutoyua N. Thompson, Chiquita Q. Broadnax, Avada L. Jenkins and Melinda M. Lambert were each charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and 27 counts of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

According to the indictment, the group conspired to knowingly place false information on taxpayers’ returns in order to obtain higher tax refunds from the IRS. The indictment further alleges that the group sought at least $129,266 in fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS.

An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum of 86 years in prison.


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Laquanta Grant, Pleads Guilty for Role in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Conspiracy


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-tax-776.html

WASHINGTON – Laquanta Grant, a resident of Montgomery, Ala., has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to file false claims for refunds, the Justice Department announced today.

Along with four other defendants, Grant was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Montgomery on Dec. 14, 2010, on a variety of charges stemming from a large-scale tax fraud and identity theft conspiracy based in that city. According to the indictment and other court documents, the conspirators used stolen identities to file millions of dollars in false tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds over a two-year period in 2009 and 2010. During the conspiracy, Laquanta Grant was responsible for funneling well over a hundred thousand dollars in fraudulent refunds to her co-conspirators.

In February 2009, Grant caused another person (W.D.) to open a bank account that was used to deposit the fraudulent tax refunds. The false refunds were provided to co-conspirator Veronica Dale and others. Between March 2010 and May 2010, Grant accompanied W.D. to ensure that W.D. withdrew the fraudulent refunds from the bank account and provided the monies to Grant and her co-conspirators. Between March 2010 and July 2010, Grant received more than $100,000 in checks from Betty Washington, who was also helping move fraudulent refunds, and provided some of the money to Alchico Grant and others. Laquanta Grant retained a portion of the false refunds.

Washington pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging her with conspiring to defraud the United States on Jan. 5, 2011. Her sentencing is set for June 16, 2011. The case against Dale and several other co-conspirators is awaiting trial.

A sentencing date for Laquanta Grant has not been set. She faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, restitution and a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the loss caused by the offense.


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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dr. Rajiv Yakhmi Ordered to Pay More Than $900,000 in Back Taxes and Restitution


Source- http://www.fbi.gov/cincinnati/press-releases/2011/physician-sentenced-to-one-year-in-prison-for-health-care-fraud-and-income-tax-fraud

COLUMBUS—Dr. Rajiv Yakhmi, 46, of Powell, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court here to 12 months and one day in prison and ordered to pay $310,000 plus interest and penalties to the IRS and an additional $590,278.60 to the government and private health care insurers he defrauded.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine; Lamont Pugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS); Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office (IRS); and J. Mark Batts, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced the guilty plea entered before U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost.

Yakhmi pleaded guilty on January 11, 2011 to one count of health care fraud and to one count of willfully filing a false income tax return with the IRS.

According to court documents, Yakhmi is a licensed medical doctor who had an office located at 2415 Deewood Drive, Columbus, Ohio. Between October 2005 and November 2007, Yakhmi contracted with DosHealth billing service to submit medical claims on his behalf to the Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as to private insurers. DosHealth relied on patient information provided by Yakhmi to submit medical claims to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.

Yakhmi knowingly submitted or caused to be submitted claims for patient office visits and medical services, including, but not limited to psychological tests, pulmonary stress tests and audio tests, knowing that such services were wrongfully coded, medically unnecessary or not provided to his patients.

In addition, on Wednesdays during part of 2006 and 2007, Yakhmi refused to accept insurance and accepted cash only from his patients for medical services and office visits which he knowingly failed to report as income on his 2006 and 2007 federal income tax returns.

The investigation discovered that in late 2006, Dr Yakhmi devised a scheme to evade federal income taxes by opening a checking account with Key Bank in the name of “Spyder Medical”. Dr. Yakhmi wrote checks from his business checking account with Huntington National Bank to “Spyder Medical” to make it appear as though he had purchased the equipment from “Spyder Medical” for his medical practice; thereby claiming a fraudulent expense of $108,000 on his 2006 Federal Income Tax return.

In November, 2007, Yakhmi terminated his contracts with Medicaid and Medicare as well as private insurance and began only accepting cash payments from his patients for all office visits and medical services. The investigation revealed that Yakhmi knowingly failed to report a significant amount of these cash payments as income to the IRS on his 2007 and 2008 federal tax income tax returns.


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Monday, June 13, 2011

Charles Hollie Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-tax-752.html

WASHINGTON -- Charles Hollie, a resident of Tyler, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider to 24 months in prison for filing false tax returns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Judge Schneider also ordered Charles Hollie to pay $84,668 in restitution to the IRS and to serve one year of supervised release. Hollie was indicted for aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns on April 7, 2010, and subsequently pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns on November 9, 2010.

According to the indictment, plea agreement and other court documents, between 2004 and 2007, Hollie worked as an independent contractor at the Tyler and Athens offices of Preferred Choice Income Tax, holding himself out to the public as a Tax Consultant and expert in preparing individual income tax returns. Hollie prepared more than 1,300 returns that claimed fictitious itemized deductions, home businesses, Earned Income Credits and–in the case of each return for the 2006 tax year–inflated telephone excise tax refund (TETR) credits, a one-time credit available to taxpayers to refund excise taxes paid on long distance and bundled service for the 41-month period from February 2003 to August 2006.


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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Roman Teodor Pleads Guilty for Role in International Money Laundering Scheme Involving $1.4 Million in Losses to Victims


Source- http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/June/11-crm-749.html

WASHINGTON – A Romanian national pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia for leading a money laundering network for a transnational criminal group based in Eastern Europe, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. According to court documents, in less than one year, the criminal conspiracy netted approximately $1.4 million from U.S. victims.

Roman Teodor, 36, a resident of Romania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman to conspiracy to commit money laundering. Teodor voluntarily surrendered to U.S. authorities on April 10, 2011. At sentencing, scheduled for Aug. 29, 2011, Teodor faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

According to court documents, Teodor participated in a scheme that operated from July 2005 through November 2006, and involved the posting of fraudulent advertisements on eBay and other websites offering expensive vehicles and boats for sale that the conspirators did not possess. When the U.S. victims expressed interest in the merchandise, they were contacted directly by an email from a purported seller. According to court documents, the victims were then instructed to wire transfer payments through “eBay Secure Traders” — an entity which has no actual affiliation to eBay, but was used as a ruse to persuade the victims that they were sending money into a secure escrow account pending delivery and inspection of their purchases. Instead, the victims’ funds were wired directly into bank accounts in Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland that were controlled by Teodor’s co-conspirators.

Teodor was originally charged on Jan. 9, 2008, along with five additional defendants: Georgi Vasilev Pletnyov, Ivaylo Vasilev Pletnyov, Nikolay Georgiev Minchev, Georgi Boychev Georgiev and Antoaneta Angelova Getova. On Dec. 2, 2009, Ivaylo Vasilev Pletnyov and Nikolay Georgiev Minchev were sentenced to 48 months and 30 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the money laundering conspiracy. On Oct. 8, 2010, Georgi Boychev Georgiev was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his role in this scheme. On April 11, 2011, Georgi Vasilev Pletnyov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 22, 2011. The United States continues to work with foreign counterparts in Bulgaria regarding Antoaneta Angelova Getova.


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