WASHINGTON – Thanh Viet Jeremy Cao of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., pleaded guilty today in Las Vegas before Judge Kent J. Dawson to six counts of filing false liens against employees and officers of the federal government, the Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced.
According to the plea agreement, Cao was a named defendant in a civil fraud action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) related to an investment scheme; he was also identified as the owner of an asset seized by the U.S. Secret Service related to this fraud. Cao was additionally under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the U.S. Secret Service for criminal offenses arising from the investment scheme, and also was under investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division for tax returns he prepared for himself and others that claimed large refunds based upon fictitious tax withholdings.
In response to these proceedings and investigations, Cao filed 22 false liens in the public records of the state of Nevada and Clark County, Nev., against SEC attorneys, U.S. District Court Judges, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judges, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, U.S. Secret Service special agents and special agents of the IRS. Each lien alleged that the lien victims were “debtors” of Cao for hundreds of millions of dollars. According to the plea agreement, Cao admitted that all 22 liens were false and agreed that the liens should be expunged from the public record.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, 2011 in Las Vegas.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and TIGTA, and prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Christopher Strauss and Joseph Rillotta of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.
More information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.usdoj.gov/tax.