WASHINGTON – Thanh Viet Jeremy Cao of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., was sentenced today in Las Vegas before Judge Kent J. Dawson to 41 months in prison for 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 documents filed in the case, Cao was 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 (USSS) related to this fraud. Cao was additionally under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California and the USSS for criminal offenses arising from the investment scheme. Additionally, he was under investigation by IRS-Criminal Investigation 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, Nevada, 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, USSS 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 documents filed in the case, Cao admitted that all 22 liens were false and agreed that the liens should be expunged from the public record.
In August 2010, through the joint efforts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Justice Department’s Tax Division, Cao and his business, Phoenix Financial Management Group, were enjoined from preparing tax returns.
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.