colorado man charged with attempting to interfere with the administration of iRS laws
DENVER – Byron Thomas Warnes, age 60, of Silverthorne, Colorado, was charged by an Information in Denver yesterday, Thursday, September 25, 2013, for attempting to interfere with the administration of IRS laws, United States Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd announced. Warnes waived his right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.
According to the Information, Warnes was self-employed as a real estate agent and broker doing business under the name “Gold Mountain Realty” (“GMR”). He was also the co-founder, 50% beneficial owner and one of two principals of Aspen Ridge, LLC (“Aspen Ridge”), a Colorado limited liability company involved in real estate investment and development. One of Aspen Ridge’s real estate projects concerned the purchase in October 2005 and contemplated development of approximately 291 acres of undeveloped land commonly known as the “Pine Air Addition,” situated in and about Hot Sulphur Springs, Grand County, Colorado. Warnes and Aspen Ridge’s other principal ultimately did not develop this land but rather granted conservation easements to Grand County with respect to most of the acreage, leading to the acquisition and sale of State of Colorado tax credits associated with the granting of these easements.
Beginning in or about 1994, the IRS conducted an audit examination to determine Warnes’s income and federal income tax liability for the year 1992. In February 1997, as a result of that audit, the IRS determined that Warnes owed a total of approximately $232,242 in federal taxes, interest and penalties for the 1992 year and made a tax assessment of this amount and the IRS recorded a federal tax lien for this and other federal tax assessments against Warnes.
From about January 2005, and continuing through August 2008, the exact dates being unknown, Warnes directly and through others known and unknown did corruptly endeavor to obstruct and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws by:
- Cashing or converting to cashier’s checks, real estate commission checks rather than depositing them into personal or business bank accounts.
- Depositing the resulting cash and/or cashier’s check into a personal bank account for use to pay for personal expenses.
- Converting the resulting cashier’s checks into smaller blocks of cash or using them to purchase similar bank instruments in smaller denominations.
- The negotiation and conversion of these real estate commission checks, in the manner described above, such that he ultimately received cash from these real estate commission checks in sub-$10,000 amounts, thereby avoiding and circumventing bank currency reporting requirements for transactions involving more than $10,000 in cash.
- Circumventing the bank cash reporting requirements, by enlisting family members to negotiate, on his behalf, for cash checks made payable to him in amounts greater than $10,000 and providing to him in return the resulting cash, or, alternatively, using their names and social security account numbers to negotiate these checks and obtain the resulting cash.
- Deeding some of the sub-divided acres of the Pine Air Addition into the names of two of his family members.
- Filing an individual federal income tax return with the IRS for the year 2005 under-reporting by approximately $98,000 the real estate commissions that he had made for that year.
- Failing to file federal income tax returns for years subsequent to 2005, thereby failing to disclose to the IRS the income that he was receiving during those years.
“Those who interfere with the administration of the IRS and IRS laws may face criminal consequences,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
“Interfering with the tax law or those administering tax laws is unacceptable; rest assured we will hold those accountable and bring them to justice,” said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field office.
Warnes was charged with one count of attempting to interfere with the administration of IRS laws. If convicted of that count he faces not more than 3 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Harmon.
The charges contained in the information are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.