SALT LAKE CITY – Attorney Dennis B. Evanson of Sandy, Utah, was convicted on tax and fraud charges after a two week jury trial, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Investment broker Wayne F. DeMeester of Sammamish, Washington was acquitted of all counts.
Evanson, along with his co-conspirators, were indicted in November 2005 for conspiring to defraud the United States and to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. Evanson was also charged with tax evasion and assisting in the filing of false tax returns.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, the scheme cost the U.S. Treasury over $20 million in taxes. The fraud scheme took multiple forms, including the use of false documentation for fictitious currency transaction losses, false insurance expense deductions and bogus capital losses, all for the purpose of fraudulently offsetting taxable income for clients. The scheme utilized, among other things, offshore companies, offshore bank accounts, the services of offshore nominees and opinion letters that purported to give legal authority to the fraudulent transactions.
“President John F. Kennedy once said that the integrity of our tax system depends on the ‘continued willingness of the people to honestly and accurately discharge the annual price of citizenship,” said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “Convictions of tax scammers, like the one the jury has returned today, send a loud and clear message that the Tax Division and the IRS will vigorously seek to stop purveyors of fraudulent tax schemes, whose goals are to defeat our tax system and illicitly shift the burdens of citizenship onto the backs of others.”
Evanson faces a maximum sentence of 100 years in jail and $ 250,000 in fines. Forfeiture allegations against Evanson include $4.277 million, five pieces of real property located in Utah and Montana, a Toyota Tundra and a Hummer vehicle. U.S. District Court Judge Tena Campbell set a sentencing date of May 13, 2008.
Four other defendants pled guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States shortly before the trial was scheduled to commence. Accountant Brent Metcalf of Cottonwood, Utah, pled guilty to conspiracy and aiding in the filing of a false tax return on January 25, 2008. Attorney Graham R. Taylor of Tiburon, Calif., pled guilty on January 24, 2008. Certified Public Accountants Stephen F. Petersen of Coalville, Utah, and Reed H. Barker of Littleton, Colo., also pled guilty to tax fraud, on January 18, 2008. Petersen also pled guilty to aiding in the preparation of a false tax return on behalf of a client.
“This case represents the great lengths that a few people were willing to go to avoid paying their fair share of taxes,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Eileen Mayer. “But this verdict demonstrates that our citizens will not tolerate the use of abusive tax schemes that promoters erroneously think are untraceable.”
The case was being prosecuted by attorneys from the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah and was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.