Las Vegas Paralegal Pleads Guilty In Federal Court to Income Tax Evasion
Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, and Byram Tichenor, Special Agent-in-Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation for Nevada and Utah, announced that RONNIE LEE BROWN, a paralegal who worked for several law firms in Las Vegas, pleaded guilty today to four counts of attempted tax evasion. According to the Plea Memorandum and Superseding Indictment, from 1993 to 1996, BROWN engaged in a scheme of diverting settlement checks from personal injury clients and medical providers by forging the payees' names and negotiating the checks at local banks in Las Vegas. For the years 1993 through 1996, BROWN evaded $184,194 in tax on $506,166 of unreported income, with much of the unreported income consisting of embezzled funds. In 1993, Brown filed a tax return that failed to report all of his income and claimed false and inflated business expenses, and in 1994, 1995, and 1996, Brown failed to file any tax returns at all, even though he had income.
As part of the plea agreement, BROWN agreed to pay full restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, as well as restitution to the clients and medical providers whose names he forged on the checks and deposited into his own bank account in the approximate amount of $82,365. BROWN also agreed to pay back $11,850 to another individual who was defrauded by the scheme.
BROWN is facing up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $100,000 on each count. The actual sentence, however, will be dictated by the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and will be imposed at the discretion of the Court. BROWN is scheduled to be sentenced in Las Vegas on May 31, 2002, before U.S. District Court Judge Kent J. Dawson.
The case was investigated by Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy Davis.