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NEWS RELEASE

OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI


JOHN F. WOOD


Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html


APRIL 9, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


FIVE BRANSON, NIXA RESIDENTS INDICTED

FOR TAX EVASION, IMPEDING THE IRS


            SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that four Branson, Mo., residents and a Nixa, Mo., man have been indicted by a federal grand jury, in three separate and unrelated cases, for evading the payment of income taxes, impeding the work of the IRS and other offenses.


U.S. v. Davis, et al


            Carl Roger Davis, 72, his wife, Jo Elaine Davis, 58, and his son, Jeffery Allen Davis, 45, all of Branson, were charged in a 29-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on April 4, 2008. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon the arrests and initial court appearances of all three defendants.


            Roger Davis is an owner of Bottom Line Employee Services of Missouri, Inc. Employees of Bottom Line worked at the Farmhouse Restaurant in Branson. Jeffery Davis was an employee of Bottom Line and the general manager of the Farmhouse Restaurant.


            The federal indictment alleges that, from 2000 to Jan. 31, 2005, Roger and Jeffery Davis conspired to defraud the government by impeding the function of the IRS to collect federal employment taxes.


            According to the indictment, a portion of some Bottom Line employees’ compensation for work at the Farmhouse Restaurant was paid in cash. False payroll information, which omitted the cash compensation, was allegedly transmitted to a bookkeeper who initially prepared payroll checks and federal employment tax returns for Bottom Line. Roger and Jeffery Davis then allegedly filed false Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Returns for Bottom Line with the IRS that omitted the cash compensation from total wages, tips and other compensation, and thereby understated the amount of federal employment taxes due from Bottom Line to the United States.


            In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment also charges Roger and Jo Davis with obstructing the administration of federal tax laws, including the determination, assessment and collection of their federal income tax liabilities for 2000 through 2005 and Bottom Line’s federal employment tax liabilities for 2000 through 2004. According to the indictment, Roger Davis filed a criminal complaint with the Branson, Mo., Police Department against an IRS employee who had participated in the execution of a federal search warrant at the Farmhouse Restaurant on Nov. 23, 2004. Roger and Jo Davis also filed two frivolous lawsuits against IRS employees involved in the criminal investigation, the indictment says.


            The federal indictment also charges Roger Davis with 16 separate counts of filing false Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return forms with the IRS from 2001 through 2004. The indictment also charges Roger Davis with five counts of filing false individual income tax returns with the IRS for the calendar years 2000 through 2004. In each of those years, the indictment alleges, Roger Davis reported no business income although he knew that his business and total income was substantially greater than the amounts reported.


            The indictment also charges Jeffery Davis with four counts of filing false individual income tax returns for the calendar years 2001 through 2004, in which he received a substantially greater income than was reported to the IRS.


            The indictment also charges Jo Davis with two counts of filing false individual income tax returns for the calendar years 2004 and 2005, in which her total income was substantially greater than that reported to the IRS, because the amounts reported did not include compensation she received from Arbonne International, Inc.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas C. Bunch. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.


U.S. v. MacLaren


            Leslie Robert MacLaren, 57, of Nixa, was charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on April 3, 2008. That indictment was unsealed and made public at his initial court appearance after MacLaren was arrested at the clerk’s office of the U.S. District Courthouse in Springfield on Monday, April 7, 2008.


            The federal indictment charges MacLaren, an optometrist, with seven counts of attempting to evade the payment of federal income taxes. The indictment alleges that MacLaren attempted to evade the payment of approximately $161,773 in total income tax due for calendar years 1993 and 1995-1998 by concealing assets (by placing property in the names of others), by concealing income, and by filing a petition for bankruptcy that contained false information. The indictment also alleges that MacLaren attempted to evade the payment of approximately $106,163 in total income tax due for calendar years 2001 through 2006 by failing to make income tax returns. MacLaren allegedly attempted to conceal his true income by converting checks he received in compensation for services rendered into currency, and (in 2003 and 2004) listing eight dependents and claiming exemption from withholding on income taxes on his IRS Form W-4 that was provided to his former employer.


            The indictment also charges MacLaren with two counts of bankruptcy fraud. According to the indictment, MacLaren obtained a discharge from his debts in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding as of May 1, 2003. The indictment alleges that MacLaren falsely overstated the payroll taxes and Social Security payments deducted from his pay, and substantially understated his monthly net take-home pay. The indictment also alleges that MacLaren attempted to conceal assets in his bankruptcy case, including residential property for which he used another person as the nominal owner, as well as three vehicles – a 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse, a 1987 Porsche 924 and a 1989 Lincoln Continental – that were purchased and titled under the name Dioptrics Limited.


            This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.


U.S. v. Hartzell


            Rhonda Hartzell, 59, of Branson, was charged in a two-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on April 2, 2008. The indictment was unsealed and made public today upon Hartzell’s arrest and initial court appearance.


            The federal indictment alleges that Hartzell attempted to evade the payment of federal income taxes for calendar years 2001 and 2002 by failing to make an income tax return. According to the indictment, Hartzell received taxable income of $89,053 in 2001 and taxable income of $112,612 in 2002.


            This case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.


            Wood cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.


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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at

www.usdoj.gov/usao/mow/index.html