November’s Amusing Tax Convictions

A federal grand jury in Denver returned an indictment charging Timothy McPhee of Colorado man and Larry Conner of Texas man with conspiring to defraud the United States and with assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns. According to the indictment, the two men, along with other co-conspirators, promoted and sold an abusive-trust tax shelter to clients nationwide for fees ranging from approximately $25,000 to $50,000. McPhee and Conner’s promotion and sale of the tax shelter allegedly resulted in tens of millions of dollars in federal income taxes not being paid to the IRS. If convicted, McPhee and Conner face a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States and three years in prison for each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

A federal jury sitting in Atlanta convicted Jack Fisher and James Sinnott today of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns and subscribing to false tax returns. The convictions stem from Fisher and Sinnott’s fraudulent tax shelter scheme involving syndicated conservation easements dating back nearly two decades. U.S. District Court Chief Judge Timothy Batten for the Northern District of Georgia remanded Fisher and Sinnott into custody pending their sentencing. In total, the defendants sold over $1.3 billion in fraudulent tax deductions through this scheme, and face up to 20 years in prison, as well as fines and restitution. 

Two Florida businessmen, David Aaron and Russell Ultes, were sentenced to 18 months and nine months in prison, respectively, for a scheme to evade over $1.1 million in income taxes.  According to court documents and statements made in court, Aaron and Ultes were co-owners of Marlin Construction Group LLC, a residential and commercial roofing company. In 2018 and 2019, Aaron and Ultes diverted millions of dollars of customer checks to pay personal expenses. The two men falsely claimed lower business incomes and will face supervised release as well as fines and restitution upon their release from prison.   


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