David L. Johnson and Michael L. Putnam were sentenced today following their convictions for tax crimes related to their involvement in the Genesis Fund, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Both Johnson and Putnam had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer in the Central District of California. According to the original indictment filed in this case, the Genesis Fund was a private investment fund that was marketed as investing in foreign currency trading, but that operated as a Ponzi scheme.
Johnson, 73, of Loma Linda, Calif., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for filing two false tax returns in which he failed to disclose his bank account in Costa Rica to the IRS. According to the plea agreement, Johnson used this bank account to conceal Genesis Fund distributions from the IRS. Judge Fischer also ordered Johnson to pay restitution of $2.3 million: approximately $1.9 million to investors in the Genesis Fund and $400,000 to the IRS.
Putnam, 68, of St. George, Utah, formerly of Huntington Beach, Calif., was sentenced to 12 months and a day in prison for conspiracy and tax fraud and ordered to pay over $13 million in restitution: approximately $10 million to investors in the Genesis Fund and $3 million to the IRS. According to court documents, Putnam had cooperated with the government in the prosecution of other defendants charged for their involvement in the Genesis Fund.
According to court documents, Johnson and Putnam received significant distributions that they hid in foreign bank accounts and did not report to the IRS. Johnson received over $2.4 million while Putnam received over $1.5 million.
Johnson and Putnam are the 10th and 11th defendants to be sentenced for crimes related to the promotion of the Genesis Fund.
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, commended the efforts of special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation in Laguna Niguel, Calif., for investigating the case, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Lori A. Hendrickson, Matthew J. Kluge, Ellen M. Quattrucci and Danny N. Roetzel for prosecuting the case, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles.