OWNER OF CLARK’S AUTO SALES PLEADS GUILTY TO DEALING IN ILLEGAL EXPLOSIVES AND FALSIFYING TAX RETURNS
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 04, 2012
Public Affairs Officer
DAYTON – Earl Clark, 39, of Franklin, Ohio, pleaded guilty to one count each of money laundering, dealing in explosives without a license, and willfully filing a false federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), relative to his ownership of Clark’s Auto Sales.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office; Robin Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Robert Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and members of the Warren County Drug Task Force, announced the guilty plea entered today before U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Rose.
According to court documents, Earl Clark has owned and operated Clark’s Auto Sales since 2004. Clark assisted several individuals in concealing their assets, which represented the proceeds of illegal drug sales. Between 2007 and October 2010, Clark sold cars to individuals he knew as “dope boys,” a term to describe people engaged in the sale of illegal narcotics. Clark titled these cars in the names of individuals other than the drug dealers in order to help conceal ownership of the vehicles, and he placed false liens of the vehicles, in efforts to prevent law enforcement from trying to seize the property as proceeds of drug trafficking.
Clark laundered the proceeds from the illegal auto sales by depositing cash, totaling between $120,000 and $200,000, into his bank account.
Clark also admitted to selling illegal fireworks between June 2009 and June 2010 from his auto dealership, an activity which constitutes explosives dealing under Federal law. Clark did not have a license to distribute, possess, or sell these explosive materials.
In addition, Clark earned significant income between 2004 and 2009 from the sale of fireworks and explosive materials but failed to report some of that income on his federal tax returns. Clark admitted that he willfully failed to report at least $80,000 in income per year during each of these tax periods, resulting in a tax loss to the IRS in excess of $80,000.
Money laundering carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transactions, whichever is greatest. Dealing explosives without a license also carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and $250,000 fine. Filing a false federal income tax return carries a maximum prison sentence of 3 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offense, whichever is greatest, and the cost of prosecution relating to this tax offense.
Judge Rose set Clark’s sentencing for December 7, 2012.
In addition, Clark agreed with the terms of a Global Settlement Agreement, calling for the forfeiture of two bank accounts containing $353,211.91 and $33,388.14, along with $21,524 in U.S. currency, nine automobiles, and a trailer.
Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office stated, “Not only is a criminal facing significant jail time, but the government has seized a significant portion of the illegal proceeds through asset forfeiture. IRS, Criminal Investigation is proud to provide its financial expertise as we work alongside our law enforcement partners to bring criminals to justice.”
“ATF will continue to work hand in hand with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who illegally possess and deal in explosive materials are held accountable for their actions,” said Robin Shoemaker, ATF Special Agent in Charge, Columbus Field Division.
Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation, ATF, DEA, and the Warren County Drug Task Force, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Tabacchi, who is prosecuting this case.