News and Press Releases

Casino Executive and Dealers Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the IRS

June 24, 2002

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 DALE L. SEIPP, BELINDA G. MOSDELL, LEVEDA TAYLOR, and LEO SHAN HOW pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas today to Conspiracy to Deliver False Documents to the IRS, a violation of Title 18 United States Code Subsection 371, a misdemeanor charge which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of one year in prison. The defendants were originally indicted on March 7, 2001, and charged with Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, a felony. The United States will move to dismiss the pending Indictment at the time of sentencing.

According to the group Plea Memorandum filed in court today, defendants MOSDELL, TAYLOR, and HOW were dealers, and defendant SEIPP was the Comptroller at the Virgin River Hotel & Casino in Mesquite, Nevada. In July 1992, the IRS and the Virgin River Hotel and Casino entered into a Tip Compliance Agreement, which provided that an hourly tip rate of $4.50 per hour would be paid by the dealers to the IRS in addition to their salary. The tip rate was to remain in effect through December 31, 1993, at which time the parties could review and revise the tip rate annually. Dealers at the Virgin River Hotel & Casino pooled all tips received during a 24-hour period and split tips equally among the dealers who worked in that period. Between July 1992 and December 1995, the defendants created and submitted fabricated tip records to the IRS indicating that their tip rate was $5.50 per hour, in order to avoid paying their true tax liability. The dealers and the Virgin River Casino were to report taxes, to include payroll taxes, to the IRS based on that hourly tip rate. The United States would present evidence and tip diaries maintained by Virgin River dealers reflecting that during the period January 1, 1994, through March 31, 1995, the hourly tip rate for Virgin River dealers was $7.05 per hour to $10.46 per hour.

Pursuant to the Plea Memorandum, all four defendants shall be sentenced to a six-month term of imprisonment at a prison and/or jail. In addition, defendants MOSDELL, TAYLOR, and HOW will make restitution to the IRS in the amount of their unpaid personal income taxes and share of Social Security and Medicare taxes. Defendant SEIPP will pay a fine in an amount reflecting the average tax liability of the other defendants.

The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced in Las Vegas on September 23 , 2002, at 10:00 a.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Larry R. Hicks.

The case was investigated by Special Agents of IRS Criminal Investigation in Las Vegas and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ray Rukstele.

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