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Today's Date: U.S. Attorney News Feed
Las Vegas Court Blocks Tax Preparer’s Alleged Scheme
Court Feed News | 2006/11/30 20:34

WASHINGTON – Lynn Lakers, a Boulder City, Nev., tax-return preparer, has been permanently barred in connection with an alleged offshore-trust tax scam, the Justice Department announced today. It is alleged that Lakers, participating with three others, prepared false tax returns for phony trusts sold by her fellow defendants. She consented to the injunction order. According to the complaint, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) estimates that this tax fraud scheme resulted in at least $31 million in lost revenue to the federal Treasury.

The other two defendants who consented to a permanent injunction earlier this year are Daniel Young of Las Vegas, who allegedly created phony domestic and foreign trusts to move customers’ assets from the United States to offshore banks located in the West Indies, and Stephen Nestor of Boise, Idaho, a former IRS revenue officer who allegedly signed false tax returns on behalf of customers’ bogus trusts. The case remains pending against a fourth defendant, Reinhold Sommerstedt.

Judge Brian E. Sandoval of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada entered injunctions against Nestor and Young in May 2006 and against Lakers on Nov. 20th. The injunctions prevent the three individuals from promoting the alleged tax-fraud scheme or preparing tax returns based on it. They must also give the government a list of their customers’ names, addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and Social Security numbers. Nestor and Young have already complied with this portion of the injunction order.

According to the government’s complaint, the scheme allegedly helped customers hide their income from the IRS in Caribbean bank accounts. The defendants’ customers allegedly used phony loans and gifts to repatriate their money while concealing it from the IRS. Customers allegedly paid as much as $14,500 to participate in the scheme.



Judge rules US currency discriminates against blind
Court Feed News | 2006/11/29 22:45

In a Tuesday ruling, Judge James Robertson of the US District Court for the District of Columbia declared that "the Treasury Department’s failure to design and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired individuals violates section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act." Section 504 provides that no disabled person shall be "subjected to discrimination . . . under any program or activity conducted by any Executive agency." In support of its decision, the court noted that over half of all countries that print their currency vary its size or texture to aid the blind. The court rejected the government's arguments that the change would be cost prohibitive, increase counterfeiting, and disrupt international recognition of US currency.

Robertson wrote:

Plaintiffs have demonstrated that they lack meaningful access to US currency. They have put forth several potential accommodations that are reasonable on their face. The government has not sustained its burden of showing that any of them would be unduly burdensome to implement... I will grant plaintiffs’ prayer for a declaratory judgment.

The American Council of the Blind filed the action four years ago. Under 28 USC s.1292(b), the government has ten days to appeal the ruling.



KBR to Pay $8 Mil to Settle Allegations of Fraud
Court Feed News | 2006/11/29 19:38

WASHINGTON – Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) has agreed to pay the United States $8 million to settle allegations of overcharging and other procurement irregularities regarding the Houston-based company’s billings to the Army under a contract for logistical support of military operations in the Balkans during 1999 and 2000, the Justice Department announced today. The settlement resolves allegations under the False Claims Act that concerned various purchase orders awarded to 10 different foreign KBR subcontractors or vendors.

Part of the allegations concerned double-billing or delivery of non-comforming products by aggregate suppliers for use in the construction of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. The other matters generally involved inflation of prices for various goods resulting from the alleged failure to ensure competitive procurements.

“The Department of Justice remains committed to vigorously pursuing allegations of procurement abuses affecting the military,” said Peter D. Keisler, Assistant Attorney General for the Department’s Civil Division.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service participated in the investigation of this matter.



Saddam genocide trial resumes
Court Feed News | 2006/11/28 17:24

Saddam Hussein's genocide trial resumed Monday with testimony from witnesses describing how Hussein's soldiers executed civilians during the "Anfal" campaigns against ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq from 1987 to 1988. All seven defendants appeared in court, though several were represented by court-appointed lawyers while members of the defense team continue their boycott of the proceedings.

In a separate case and ruling issued earlier this month, Hussein was sentenced to death for crimes against humanity committed in the Iraqi town of Dujail. An appeals panel is expected to rule on the verdict and sentence by mid-January 2007. Prosecutors hope to complete the Anfal trial before Hussein is executed.



Ohio Man Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Charges
Court Feed News | 2006/11/28 02:54

WASHINGTON — Joseph Kuzlik, of Ohio, pleaded guilty today to federal civil rights charges for his role in violating the civil rights of an interracial family in Cleveland. He also pleaded guilty to making false statements to federal investigators. Sentencing has been set for Feb. 23, 2007. On Oct. 26, 2006, David Fredericy, another individual charged in the case, entered a guilty plea to the same charges.

Kuzlik pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges for his role in using force and threats of force to interfere with federally protected housing rights of the victims because of their race. The indictment in this case alleges that Kuzlik and Fredericy conspired to engage in a series of acts intended to threaten and intimidate African-American residents in their neighborhood. The indictment charges, among other acts, that the defendants placed mercury, a toxic substance, on the family’s porch. As part of his guilty plea, Kuzlik admitted that he did so for the purpose of intimidating the family because they were an interracial family, and that he and his co-defendant were attempting to drive the family out of the neighborhood. Kuzlik also admitted to lying to federal investigators from the Environmental Protection Agency, the federal agency that was initially charged with cleaning up the mercury and investigating the incident, because of an agreement he had with Fredericy to keep their actions secret.

“Today’s plea sends a clear message that bias-motivated acts of violence are intolerable and will be prosecuted aggressively by the Justice Department consistent with federal law,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “It is a tragedy that crimes such as this occur at all in our nation, but we will not relent in our efforts to protect and defend the civil rights afforded by our Constitution and laws.”

U.S. Attorney Gregory White of the Northern District of Ohio said, “Today’s guilty plea is the result of a joint effort by the FBI, the Cleveland Police Department and the EPA and demonstrates the commitment of both state and federal law enforcement authorities to protecting every citizen’s basic right to live in and enjoy his or her own home without fear of racial intimidation. We must all work together, as a community, to prevent this type of conduct from recurring.”

The maximum potential penalties on the conspiracy and civil rights charges are 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any period of incarceration, per count. The maximum term of imprisonment for the false statements charge is five years. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann C. Rowland and Trial Attorney Kristy L. Parker of the Civil Rights Division.

Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 161 defendants in 103 cases of bias-motivated crimes.



11th Defendant Pleads Guilty in Tax Promotion Fraud
Court Feed News | 2006/11/27 02:49

Over the past several years, Justice Department prosecutors in concert with IRS agents have aggressively worked to identify and prosecute tax cheats and promoters of tax fraud schemes. Increased efforts to stop fraud have resulted in numerous federal injunctions to stop the sale of bogus tax advice; court orders for the IRS to obtain records of offshore credit cards used by the people who transfer assets overseas to evade their tax obligations; and lengthy prison sentences for individuals who engage in fraudulent behavior.

Today the Justice Department announced that Lanny R. White of Orem, Utah pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and to commit mail and wire fraud, in connection with the promotion of a tax and investment fraud scheme. White is the 11th defendant who promoted a trust scheme that defrauded the IRS of more than $5 million in tax revenue.

Other convictions in this case include:

*In March 2004, Orem, Utah attorney Todd Cannon pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Cannon admitted that his actions cost the federal treasury almost $3 million in lost tax revenue. Cannon also admitted that he allowed his fellow conspirators to fraudulently use and invest over $1 million of client funds for purposes other than those promised to the clients. As a condition of his guilty plea, Cannon agreed to surrender his law license.

*In March 2004, Dr. Lance Hatch, a Walla Walla, Washington chiropractor, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. Hatch admitted that his actions cost the federal treasury more than $3 million in lost tax revenue.

*In April 2004, Valencia, California attorneys Martin Arnoldini and Jerrold Boschma each pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Arnoldini and Boschma admitted their actions caused a loss of federal tax revenue totaling approximately $3.6 million and also admitted to participating in fraudulent investment schemes, which led to clients losing approximately $1.3 million. As a condition of their guilty pleas, Arnoldini, who held an advanced degree in tax law, and Boschma agreed to surrender their law licenses.

*In April 2004, David J. Orr of Salt Lake City, Utah pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Orr admitted that his actions cost the federal treasury between $5 million and $10 million in lost tax revenue. Orr also admitted that he obtained between $5 million and $7 million from clients by misrepresenting his investment experience and the safety and expected return on the investments he marketed. Orr further admitted causing client assets to be commingled and misappropriated.

*In April 2004, Sandy, Utah attorney Michael Behunin pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Behunin admitted that his actions cost the federal treasury between $950,000 and $1.5 million in lost tax revenue. Behunin also admitted to participating in a fraudulent railroad bond investment scheme, causing clients to lose between $350,000 and $450,000. As a condition of his guilty plea, Behunin agreed to surrender his law license.

*In February 2005, R. Scot Stokes of Henderson, Nevada pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Stokes admitted that his actions cost the federal treasury between $7 million and $10 million. Stokes also admitted participating in fraudulent investment schemes that caused customers to lose between $2.5 million and $5 million.

*In March 2005, former IRS Revenue Agent Marissa Hyde of Overland, Kansas, who pleaded guilty in August 2004 to a felony charge of interfering with the administration of the internal revenue laws, was sentenced to 3 months in federal prison, 3 months home confinement, and was fined $5,000. Hyde admitted using her previous employment as an IRS revenue agent to give the trust scheme an appearance of legitimacy.

*In April 2005, Edward T. Woodger of Sandy, Utah pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and to defraud the IRS. Woodger admitted that his actions cost the federal treasury more than $7 million. Woodger also admitted participating as the “offshore money man” in fraudulent investment schemes, that caused customers to lose between $2.5 million and $5 million.

*In February 2006, Max C. Lloyd, a Midvale, Utah CPA licensed in California was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false federal income tax return. Lloyd previously pleaded guilty to the felony charge in October 2005.



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