Lawyer Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Tax Evasion
Las Vegas, Nev. – A local lawyer who previously pleaded guilty to tax evasion and willfully failed to file federal income tax returns or pay any taxes for a five-year period, was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison, announced Greg Brower, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Mark A. Lobello, a licensed Nevada attorney who practices in Las Vegas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. He was indicted by the Federal Grand Jury in November 2006.
According to court filings, Lobello earned a degree in business administration from the University of Nevada Las Vegas and became a member of the Nevada State Bar in 1990. Between 1994 and 2006, Lobello practiced law in Las Vegas, and handled business disputes, personal injury lawsuits, and divorce matters. Between the years 1997 and 2001, Lobello earned over $600,000 in income, but willfully failed to file federal income tax returns or pay any federal income taxes for the those years, even though he owed the IRS over $140,000. Lobello also attempted to conceal his income from the IRS by dealing in cash; mixing business funds with personal funds; using multiple taxpayer identification numbers; holding assets in the names of nominees; filing frivolous motions to quash IRS requests for his records; and demanding that clients withdraw IRS paperwork indicating he had earned taxable income.
Judge Mahan also ordered Lobello to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $141,667 in restitution to the IRS, which represents his unpaid personal income tax liability for 1997 through 2001. After the guilty plea and before sentencing, Lobello filed income tax returns for the years 2002 through 2005.
"Everyone, including attorneys like Mr. Lobello, has a duty to comply with federal tax laws and has an obligation to file accurate tax returns and timely pay their taxes," said Nathan J. Hochman, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Tax Division. "If they violate these laws, the consequences are severe -- indictment and criminal prosecution, being branded a felon for the rest of their lives, significant prison time, and the requirement to pay back all the taxes plus steep penalties and interest."
"Any individual who willfully stops filing income tax returns when they are required to do so is committing a federal crime and they will be held accountable for their actions," said Eileen Mayer, IRS Chief, Criminal Investigation. "The prosecution of individuals who intentionally conceal income and evade taxes is a vital element in maintaining public confidence in our tax system."
Lobello is released on a personal recognizance bond and was permitted to self-report to federal prison by February 2, 2009.
The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Thomas W. Flynn and John P. Scully, Trial Attorneys with the Department of Justice Tax Division.