Nicholas J. Faranso of Farmington Hills, Mich., pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge John Corbett O’Meara in the Eastern District of Michigan to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. For his role in the conspiracy, Faranso faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The court set sentencing for July 14, 2011.
According to court documents, Faranso owned two strip clubs: BT’s in Dearborn, Mich., and Tycoon’s in Detroit. From 2001 through 2004, both establishments used a computerized point of sales system which produced guest checks and electronically tracked and recorded sales. Court documents reveal that, in 2001,Faranso purchased a computer software program called Journal Sales Remover from Theodore Kramer, a self-employed computer software salesman. This computer software program was specifically designed to remove a portion of the actual sales from the computerized point of sales systems. The program would make it appear that Faranso’s clubs received less income than they actually did.
Faranso directed Kramer to put the Journal Sales Remover program onto his businesses’ computer systems in order to help the club owner cheat on the businesses’ taxes. From about 2001 to about 2004, at Faranso’s request, Kramer made periodic visits to Faranso’s clubs to run the Journal Sales Remover program to remove a substantial amount of the actual sales from the computerized sales systems. Faranso then provided the reduced sales figures to his accountant. As a result, Faranso falsified the clubs’ tax returns by understating their gross receipts by more than $500,000. Kramer previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy on Nov. 17, 2010.
Barbara L. McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, and John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice, Tax Division, commended the IRS special agents who investigated this matter and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Kenneth C. Vert and Tiwana L. Wright, who prosecuted the case.