FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 29, 2013
For Information Contact:
Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
Related to Embezzlement From Indonesian Airline
- Admits Failure to Report $284,500 in Income -
WASHINGTON - Alan Messner, 41, of Rolling Meadows, Illinois, pled guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of tax evasion related to his failure to report $284,500 in income he received in 2006 and 2007.
The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
As part of his guilty plea, Messner admitted that, in December 2006, he and Jon C. Cooper induced an Indonesian airline company to pay them a $1 million security deposit to lease two aircraft using various false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises – including forged and fraudulent documents. Messner admitted that, after Cooper received the $1 million security deposit, Cooper transferred $284,500 to Messner in December 2006 and January 2007. Messner spent that portion for his own personal benefit. Likewise, Cooper spent the balance of the security deposit for his own personal benefit. Cooper and Messner did not provide the promised aircraft and did not return any funds to the Indonesian airline company.
Messner admitted that he did not report any portion of the $284,500 on his federal income tax returns for either tax year. As a result of Messner’s tax evasion, Messner caused a tax loss of $62,231.60 to the United States.
Messner is scheduled to be sentenced on December 13, 2013, before the Honorable Amy Berman Jackson. On the tax evasion charge, Messner faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, as part of his guilty plea, Messner agreed to pay the full $62,231.60 owed to the United States.
In the related case, Cooper is scheduled for trial on Jan. 21, 2014, also in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In April 2013, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Cooper, charging him with conspiracy, first-degree fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering related to the embezzlement from the Indonesia airline. The superseding indictment against Cooper also includes counts of bank fraud, making a false statement on a loan application, and aiding or assisting the filing of a false tax return. The superseding indictment reincorporates a forfeiture allegation seeking all proceeds obtained through the wire fraud and money laundering scheme. Cooper, 64, of Washington, D.C, has pled not guilty to those charges.
According to the superseding indictment, in or about December 2006, Cooper and Messner offered to lease two aircraft to an Indonesian airline company, although their company owned no such aircraft. Instead, Cooper induced the Indonesian airline to agree to the deal - and pay a $1 million security deposit - by using a forged letter from an attorney whom Cooper claimed would hold the deposit. Similarly, Cooper allegedly used a forged letter purporting to represent that Cooper’s company had an agreement to buy the aircraft it would lease to the Indonesian airline. As the superseding indictment charges, based on those and other false representations, the Indonesian airline made the $1 million security deposit. But the very day the security deposit was received, Cooper moved it to his personal account. Cooper then spent it on personal expenses, such as his credit card debt and personal loans.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal laws and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Washington Field Office of IRS-CI. It is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.13-296