Stratosphere Subcontractor Indicted on Money Laundering, Bankruptcy and Tax Fraud Charges
Las Vegas, Nev. - Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, Eileen J. O'Connor, United States Assistant Attorney General, Tax Division, and Byram Tichenor, Special Agent-in-Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation for Nevada and Utah, announce that RONNIE LEE FORD, age 55, formerly of Las Vegas, Nevada, has been charged by a federal Grand Jury in Las Vegas with money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, and filing a false 1996 federal income tax return.
The Indictment, returned on April 8, 2003, charges RONNIE LEE FORD with 3 counts: Engaging in Money Transactions in Property Derived from Specified Unlawful Activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957, Concealment of Bankruptcy Assets, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 152(1), and Filing a False tax Return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1). According to the Indictment, RONNIE LEE FORD was Secretary and Treasurer of Ramhorn Construction, Inc. and its successor Dryifs. Inc. The Indictment alleges that FORD laundered unlawfully-obtained monies from the proceeds of a bankruptcy fraud into his personal bank account, after passing the monies through the entities E.F. Scaffolding, Inc. and West Peak Investments, Inc. It further alleges that FORD committed bankruptcy fraud by concealing Ramhorn Construction assets from the United States Bankruptcy Court by placing the assets in bank accounts in the names of various nominee entities. Finally, the Indictment charges that FORD failed to report the income diverted from Ramhorn Construction on his 1996 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
If convicted, FORD is facing up to ten years in prison on the money laundering count, five years in prison on the bankruptcy count, and three years in prison on the false tax return count, along with fines of up to $250,000 for 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.
The Grand Jury investigation also led to the guilty pleas of Stanley W. Greene and Bobby Lee Allen for Conspiracy to Defraud the Internal Revenue Service and Bankruptcy Fraud. According to the plea agreements, Mr. Greene was President and Mr. Allen was Vice-President of Ramhorn Construction, Inc. and its successor Dryifs, Inc. During the period September 1995 through September 1997, Ramhorn Construction had a $12 million subcontract for the construction of the outer wall of the 100-story Stratosphere Tower. According to the plea agreements, Mr. Greene and Mr. Allen diverted more than $1.4 Million from Ramhorn Construction through various shell entities. Mr. Greene and Mr. Allen are awaiting sentencing in federal court in Las Vegas.
United States Attorney Daniel G. Bogden states that "this investigation along with the guilty pleas obtained are a good example of the IRS's dedication to fight tax fraud and corporate fraud that may also harm the bankruptcy process."
The case was investigated by Special Agents with IRS Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by United States Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorneys Thomas Flynn and Mark Determan.
The public is reminded that an Indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.