WASHINGTON – The Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that an indictment was unsealed in Las Vegas, charging Anton Paul Drago, formerly known as Evan Joseph Fogarty, a resident of Las Vegas, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, attempting to pass a fictitious obligation, false claims for veteran's benefits, theft of public funds, failing to file a federal income tax return and making false statements to a federal agent. The indictment was returned by a grand jury on Aug.28, 2013 and was unsealed yesterday after Drago's initial appearance following arrest.
According to the indictment, Drago and Joseph Rizzuti, an unindicted co-conspirator who owned and operated an accounting and bookkeeping business in Florida, solicited investors by falsely representing that investment monies would be used for legal fees and business expenses to fund the production, refinement and shipping of oil from Nigeria to the Bahamas. In fact, Drago used the investment monies for personal expenses.
The indictment further alleges that Drago falsely claimed unemployability compensation benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and of stealing benefits to which he was not entitled. The indictment also alleges that Drago attempted to pass a fictitious financial instrument purportedly worth $10,000,000 at a bank, failed to file a 2007 federal income tax return and made a false statement to federal law enforcement agents by telling them that he did not profit from monies received from investors and that every penny he received from investors went to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Drago faces a potential maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to commit wire fraud count; 20 years in prison for each of the two wire fraud counts; five years in prison for each of the three false claims counts; 10 years in prison for the theft of public funds count; 25 years in prison for the fictitious obligation count; five years in prison for the false statement count; and one year in prison for the failure to file a federal income tax return count. He is also subject to fines and mandatory restitution if convicted.
This case was investigated by special agents of IRS - Criminal Investigation and the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Trial Attorneys Justin Gelfand and Rebecca Perlmutter of the Justice Department's Tax Division are prosecuting the case with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Nevada.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/tax.