News and Press Releases

branson father, son plead guilty to tax evasion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 29, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that two Branson, Mo., business owners pleaded guilty in federal court today to tax evasion.

Thomas A. Wood, 59, and his son, Denver A. Wood, 35, both of Branson, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England to the charges contained in an Aug. 5, 2009, federal indictment. Thomas Wood pleaded guilty to two counts of income tax evasion. Denver Wood pleaded guilty to three counts of income tax evasion.

Thomas and Denver Wood and co-defendant David D. Large, 52, of Branson, owned and operated a travel club business originally named Vacation Travel Outlet from 2000 through 2004. Vacation Travel Outlet marketed travel club memberships that claimed to offer discounted travel prices, including savings on airfare, cruises, hotels, golfing, rental cars and condominiums. They also owned and operated Vacation Services of America from 2003 to 2005.

Thomas and Denver Wood admitted that they received income from their employment at those businesses. Thomas Wood admitted that he failed to file an income tax return for 2002 and 2003. Denver Wood admitted that he failed to file an income tax return for 2002, 2003 and 2004. Under the terms of today’s plea agreements, Thomas and Denver Wood each agreed to pay restitution to the IRS, which represents the federal income taxes they failed to pay for tax years 2000 through 2004, as well as any interest and penalties that may be owed to the IRS.

Large pleaded guilty on Jan. 13, 2010, to failing to file income tax returns with the IRS for tax years 2000 through 2004. Large also agreed to pay restitution to the IRS, which represents the federal income taxes that he failed to pay for tax years 2000 through 2004, as well as any interest and penalties that may be owed to the IRS.

Large admitted that he and his co-defendants attempted to conceal $1,803,728 in income from the Internal Revenue Service. To evade assessment of income taxes, Large admitted that he and his co-defendants received their distribution of profits from their ownership interests in Vacation Travel Outlet in the form of withdrawals and checks drawn off of the Vacation Travel Outlet bank account and made payable to “cash.” They or their spouses deposited the checks into their individual bank accounts or cashed them at the banks. They also received officer compensation from Vacation Service of America.

Large also admitted that he and his co-defendants conducted financial transactions that were structured to evade federal reporting requirements.

Under federal statutes, Thomas and Denver Wood are each subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole on each count, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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