WASHINGTON – Four businessmen involved in the development, operation and ownership of restaurants, including Cadillac Ranch restaurants, in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States, pleaded guilty today to tax charges, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.
Joel Field from Marion, Ohio, Jon Field from Dublin, Ohio, Eric Schilder, of Marion, and Paul Butler, of Dublin, all pleaded guilty before Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio today.
Joel Field, 58, pleaded guilty to tax evasion, in which he admitted that he had an unpaid tax liability that exceeded $130,000 from tax years 1997 through 2001. Joel Field was an owner and operator of Cadillac Ranch restaurants and bars. From March 2004 through May 2009, when the IRS attempted to collect the outstanding amount of taxes owed by Joel Field, he provided false information to the IRS by failing to report assets and income. Further, according to publicly filed documents, Joel Field transferred his rental properties, car and business into the names of his relatives in an effort to conceal his ownership from the IRS and to prevent the IRS from seizing assets. Despite transferring these assets to nominees, Joel Field continued to control them and the income they generated.
According to documents filed with the court, in 2008, the government initiated foreclosure proceedings against Joel Field's personal residence in an effort to collect the approximately $319,000 he then owed the IRS. After the government initiated foreclosure proceedings, Joel Field submitted more false information to the IRS, including the filing of false tax returns for tax years 2006 through 2009. Furthermore, Joel Field caused his son to file false income tax returns for two years by causing his son to report income that actually belonged to Field in order to conceal his own income from the IRS. Finally, Joel Field caused his attorney to send correspondence to the government wherein representations were made that falsely underreported the value of Joel Field's restaurant. In 2009, based on the false information provided, the government agreed to settle its foreclosure lawsuit against Joel Field's home for $149,000 less than the amount he then owed the IRS in taxes, penalties and interest. As part of the plea agreement, Joel Field agreed to pay $349,777 in restitution to the IRS.
According to documents filed with the court, Jon Field, 58, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to file false income tax returns for the years 2006 through 2010. According to court documents, in 2003, Jon Field created JHF Property Holdings LLC, which was purportedly owned by his son, but which Jon Field used to operate the Cadillac Ranch and other restaurants. For the years 2006 through 2010, Jon Field agreed with others to prepare and file false income tax returns with the IRS for Jon Field which falsely underreported the amount of income that he earned from his business ventures. His tax returns for these five years failed to report at least $220,000 in income earned through JHF Property Holdings funds and other companies. According to publicly filed documents, Jon Field diverted business funds for personal expenditures, including to make payments on his vehicles, to pay his taxes, to pay personal charges on credit cards and for cash withdrawals. Jon Field's false filings resulted in a tax loss of $174,458, and he agreed to pay restitution to the IRS according to his plea agreement.
Eric Schilder, 52, pleaded guilty to filing a false income tax return for 2008. According to publicly filed documents, Schilder participated in the design, construction and, ultimately, the marketing and management of several Cadillac Ranch restaurants and bars. Schilder's conduct caused a tax loss to the IRS of approximately $95,000.
Paul Butler, 46, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to defraud the United States. Butler participated in the design, development, building and operation of Cadillac Ranch restaurants and bars. According to public filings, Butler admitted that he amassed over $150,000 in unpaid taxes for the years 1996 through 2001. When the IRS attempted to collect the funds in 2005, Butler admitted that, among other things, he and others created and provided to a false promissory note to the IRS. Butler engaged in conduct, and caused others to engage in conduct, intended to obstruct the IRS from collecting the outstanding taxes that Butler owed.
Joel Field faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for his tax evasion charge. Jon Field also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for his conspiracy charge. Paul Butler also faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for his conspiracy charge. Eric Schilder faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a $250,000 fine and one year of supervised release for filing a false income tax return.
The case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation Division and is being handled by Trial attorney Richard M. Rolwing for the Justice Department's Tax Division. Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website. Additional information about tax fraud schemes to watch out for may be found on the IRS Criminal Investigation website.