WASHINGTON – An Ohio accountant was sentenced to 11 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Watson in Columbus, Ohio, for conspiring to commit mortgage fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
According to court testimony and documents, Dennis G. Sartain of Hilliard, Ohio, was the accountant for convicted Columbus-area home builder, Thomas Parenteau. Sartain conspired with Parenteau to commit tax-fraud and money-laundering schemes through which the pair defrauded the IRS of more than $1 million and defrauded banks into lending more than $18 million to Parenteau and his nominees. A jury convicted Parenteau for his role in these crimes in July of this year after a two-month trial.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Watson ordered Sartain to pay restitution to the IRS and the defrauded banks in an amount to be determined and to forfeit to the U.S. government $120,000.
As part of the conspiracy to defraud the United States, Parenteau and Sartain prepared and filed with the IRS four false income tax returns for Parenteau’s mistress, Pamela A. McCarty. The false returns generated more than $850,000 in refunds from the IRS and state of Ohio that all went to Parenteau.
In additiona, Parenteau and Sartain, along with McCarty and Parenteau’s wife, Marsha K. Parenteau, committed a money-laundering conspiracy through which they obtained nearly $19 million in loans against a 27,000-square-foot home, by falsely representing income and submitting other false documents. They used the money to make more than $6 million in premium payments at $85,000 a month on four life insurance policies on the life of Thomas Parenteau’s father, who passed away on April 4, 2009. The government has moved for the forfeiture of the life insurance premiums and death benefits.
Finally, after learning of the IRS investigation into the tax, bank fraud and money laundering schemes, Thomas Parenteau, McCarty and Sartain engaged in a scheme to obstruct justice by concealing computers, creating false documents, destroying or altering evidence, tampering with a witness, and lying to federal and local investigators. Marsha K. Parenteau, and Pamela A. McCarty are scheduled to be sentenced for their respective roles in these schemes on Jan. 5, 2011. The sentencing for Thomas Parenteau is not yet scheduled.
John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, commended the IRS Criminal Investigation special agents who investigated the case, as well as Tax Division trial attorneys Richard Rolwing and Sean O’Connell, who prosecuted the case.