LAS VEGAS - A federal jury today convicted a Las Vegas personal injury attorney of evading payment of almost $700,000 in federal income taxes, announced the Justice Department Tax Division, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Greg Brower and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division.
Following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson, the jury deliberated for about four hours before finding Edmund C. Botha guilty of one count of willful evasion of payment of income tax for the tax years 1998 through 2001, in the approximate amount of $689,305.
"We all pay a price when individuals evade taxes," said U.S. Attorney Brower. "All Americans are victims of these offenses."
According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Botha evaded the taxes by purchasing luxury vehicles in his ex-girlfriend’s name; transacting all of his business in cash and cashier’s checks; and entering into a sham child support agreement requiring him to pay about $20,000 per month for two children. Testimony at trial showed that Botha conducted more than $2 million in cash transactions from 1998 through 2003, and paid his rent, utilities, payroll and other business expenses with cash or cashier’s checks. Evidence further showed that Botha purchased more than 10 vehicles worth more than $400,000 throughout a six-year period in his ex-girlfriend’s name, while at the same time having only a 15-year-old car with more than 100,000 miles on it in his name.
"As the jury's verdict shows, you can run and try to hide from your tax obligations behind sham agreements and nominees, but when the government catches and tries you, your next stop will be sentencing where years of imprisonment await ," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Tax Division.
"The use of nominees and other financial transactions to disguise true ownership of assets and money to evade taxes is criminal activity," said Eileen Mayer, Chief, IRS Criminal Investigation. "Fulfilling individual tax obligations is a legal requirement and those who willfully evade that responsibility face prosecution."
Botha is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 7, 2009. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Brower and Attorney General Hochman commended the IRS special agents who investigated the case, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell E. Marsh and Tax Division trial attorney Ellen Quattrucci who prosecuted the case.