Aurora loan broker is sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison for omitting over $4.7 million from tax returns
DENVER – Leonid Shifrin, age 42, of Aurora, Colorado, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Court Judge Philip A. Brimmer to serve 18 months in federal prison for filing a false income tax return, United States Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office, Acting Special Agent in Charge Lilia Ruiz announced. Following his prison sentence, Shifrin was ordered to spend one year on supervised release. Judge Brimmer scheduled a hearing on November 15, 2012, to decide the issue of how much Shifrin owes the IRS in restitution. Once Judge Brimmer decides the amount of restitution, Shifrin will then be given 15 days to surrender to his designated Bureau of Prison facility.
Shifrin was indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on April 20, 2010. A superseding indictment was obtained on June 22, 2010. He pled guilty on March 2, 2011, and was sentenced today, September 20, 2012.
According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, from 2002 through 2005, Leonid Shifrin was principally employed as a mortgage loan broker, originating and closing loans for residential real properties. Shifrin, according to government calculations, under-reported his business receipts by $5,736,520 for the years 2002 through 2005. This under-reporting of the business and other receipts for these years would result in an additional tax due and owing of $946,679.
Beginning in or about 2002, Shifrin conducted his mortgage brokerage business in partnership with others under the name Consumer Mortgage Group (“CMG”), with offices initially in Aurora, Colorado and later Centennial, Colorado. During this time, the defendant also formed a Nevada corporation under the name Mark Shifrin, Inc., using the first and last names of his father, who at the time was retired and working various part-time jobs, including for a pizza restaurant as a pizza deliverer and dishwasher. During this time, Shifrin indicated to his partners that checks issued to him for his loan commission payments and ownership distributions issued to him should be made payable to him under either the name “Mark Shifrin” or Mark Shifrin, Inc. The defendant also started titling various of his assets, including real estate, in these names and started to use bank accounts in these names.
In or about August 2003, after one of the partners left the business, CMG changed its name to Consumer Financial Services Corp. (“CFS”). Shifrin continued to receive almost all of his loan commission payments and ownership distributions through checks not made payable to him. Shifrin received these payments either in his father’s name, in the name of Mark Shifrin, Inc., or in the name of Shifrin, Inc., a Colorado corporation that Shifrin formed in or about September 2004 but whose name he began using sometime earlier.
In or about August 2004, Shifrin ceased conducting most of his mortgage loan brokerage business through CFS, withdrew from the partnership, and entered into a collaboration with a loan processor who had been a former employee and was, at the time, self-employed doing business under the name Mile High Mortgage Process, LLC (“Mile High Mortgage”). The loan processor operated Mile High Mortgage out of offices in Greenwood Village, Colorado and later, Golden, Colorado, while Shifrin and his employees operated out of offices in Centennial, Colorado. During this collaboration, Shifrin continued to structure his activities to avoid reporting all of his business’s mortgage loan commissions on federal income tax returns.
“Tax cheats are stealing both from the nation and from their fellow taxpayers,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “Hiding millions of dollars of income to avoid paying taxes is a crime that we will identify, investigate and prosecute to the full extent of the law.”
“Tax evasion is not a victimless crime; we all pay when others defraud the government,” said Lilia Ruiz, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office.
This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Harmon.