Former Durango resident William Ballantine is sentenced to prison for income tax evasion
DENVER – William Ballantine, age 63, of Kirkland, Washington, formerly of Durango, Colorado, was sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge Wiley Y. Daniel on October 24, 2012 to serve 13 months in federal prison for income tax evasion. Following his prison sentencing, Ballantine was ordered to spend 3 years on supervised release. Chief Judge Daniel also ordered Ballantine to pay restitution totaling over $480,000. The defendant was also ordered to pay a $20,000 fine. Ballantine, who appeared at the sentencing hearing free on bond, was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons once a facility is designated.
Ballantine was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on October 5, 2011. He pled guilty before Chief Judge Daniel on April 3, 2012 to one count of income tax evasion. He was sentenced on October 24, 2012.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, Ballantine established the William Ballantine Fund through an agreement with the National Philanthropic' Trust (NPT), a Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation. The Fund was established to provide donations to charitable entities, and was managed and owned by the NPT. In August 2008, and continuing through about September 2009, in the State and District of Colorado and elsewhere, Ballantine knowingly executed a scheme to defraud the Fund, the NPT, and St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Durango, Colorado.
In July 2008, Ballantine contacted the pastor of the Church and advised him that he was in the process of forming a charity to provide computers to poor children in Antigua. Members of Ballantine’s family were long time members of the Church and the pastor knew him. Ballantine advised the pastor that he needed the assistance of the Church to move contributions for his charity through the Church until his charity was established.
Ballantine made requests via email or facsimile of NPT to send money to the Church. NPT mailed several checks to the Church totaling $395,000 between August, 2008, and September, 2009. According the Ballantine’s instructions, the pastor deposited $35,000 into the Church's bank account, and $360,000 into the Ballantine’s bank account in Durango. After receiving some suspicious correspondence in August, 2009, the pastor, through his attorney, contacted law enforcement and provided information about Ballantine’s activities.
Ballantine’s bank records were obtained and analyzed and showed the money he received from the NPT, through the Church, was used for personal expenses, and not for charity. Ballantine later admitted to law enforcement officers the $360,000 he received from the Church was not used for charitable causes. Ballantine’s tax filings were obtained for tax years 2008 and 2009. The tax paid for 2008 was $40,034, while the amount actually due and owing was in excess of $52,000. The tax paid for 2009 was $28,523, while the amount actually due and owing was in excess of $91,000.
“In this case, the defendant took advantage of a church as a cover to embezzle funds from a philanthropic trust,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Not only did he take money meant for charity, he also didn’t pay taxes on that income, which he used for personal expenses.”
“This is a reminder that all taxpayers should file complete and accurate tax returns; all income regardless of the source is taxable,” said Lilia Ruiz, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.
This case was investigated by IRS – Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Todd Norvell and Jaime Pena.