News and Press Releases

United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner
Eastern District of California

Jury Finds Sacramento Attorney Guilty of Tax Evasion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 26, 2013
 

www.usdoj.gov/usao/cae

usacae.edcapress@usdoj.gov

 

Docket #: 2:09-cr-008 LKK

 

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today a federal jury found Donald M. Wanland Jr., 53, of El Dorado Hills, guilty of 28 tax-related criminal charges, including attempting to evade personal income taxes for the tax years 2000 through 2003, failing to file tax returns for 2005 through 2007, and multiple counts of removing, depositing, and concealing assets from the IRS in defiance of a levy, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Wanland was remanded into custody of the United States Marshals immediately following the jury’s verdict.

US Attorney Wagner said, “Tax evasion is a serious crime, and it is particularly serious when attorneys engage in it. Those who willfully evade their responsibility to pay taxes should know that they can face years in prison.”

“Today's conviction should send a clear message to those who cheat on their taxes,” said José M. Martínez, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “Mr. Wanland concealed assets and made false statements to the IRS. Rather than paying his taxes, he paid for a weekend at a ski resort, made payments toward a Mercedes Benz and a paid for expenses related to a pool at his El Dorado Hills home. In today's economic environment, it is more important than ever that the American people feel confident that everyone is playing by the rules and paying the taxes they owe.”

According to evidence introduced at trial, Wanland, a financially successful Sacramento-area attorney, evaded paying taxes for years. For tax years 2000 through 2003, he filed tax returns showing gross income of more than $1.5 million, for which he admitted owing taxes of $448,451. But he paid nothing. When the IRS tried to collect, Wanland concealed the bank accounts that he used to receive and spend his income, and then filed no tax returns at all for years 2004 through 2007. He continued working for his law firm and received more than $1 million total during those years. When the IRS placed levies on his income in April 2005, Wanland repeatedly defied the levies by continuing to funnel his income to the concealed nominee accounts. He spent the money on various items including a $2,700 weekend at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, payments on a Mercedes Benz and a Cadillac Escalade, gambling at Las Vegas casinos, vacations to Mexico and Hawaii, limousine services, and expenses for the pool at his home in El Dorado Hills. He also withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and wrote hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks out of the concealed accounts.
According to court documents and evidence produced at trial, Wanland’s tax problems did not start in 2000. He failed to pay some or all of his taxes due and owing for multiple years in the 1990’s as well.

According to court documents, Wanland was first indicted on January 8, 2009, for attempting to evade paying income taxes for the calendar years 2000 through 2003. The January 2012 superseding indictment added charges that he defied the tax levies and that Wanland willfully failed to file tax returns for tax years 2005 – 2007.

Wanland faces a maximum statutory penalty for tax evasion of five years in prison, and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for removing, depositing, and concealing assets in defiance of an IRS levy is three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for willful failure to file tax returns is one year in prison and a $25,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory sentencing factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case is the product of an investigation by the IRS, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew D. Segal and Christopher S. Hales are prosecuting the case.

Last month, another attorney, Orion Douglas Memmott, 73, formerly of Willows, Calif., was convicted of attempted tax evasion and subscribing to a false tax document. When IRS collection agents sought to collect unpaid taxes for tax years 1993-1999 that amounted to more than $650,000, Memmott concealed his real estate holdings and rental income. He is scheduled to be sentenced on November 6, 2013.

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