DOJ Seal Department of Justice  
United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

                                

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE            CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2009            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe             PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881

 

PLANO MAN SENTENCED FOR FRAUD SCHEME

 

            PLANO, TX – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that a 46-year-old Plano, Texas man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas. 

            U.S. Attorney Bales said, “Blair’s unconscionable acts of thievery are now punished!  Now, our goal will be to recover the stolen money for the parishioners of the church who had entrusted Blair with the church finances.  The one thing that is difficult for the victims to recover is their trust in others in the future, all because of the appalling deceit and fraud of Blair.”

            DONALD PATRICK BLAIR pleaded guilty to an Information in March 2009, charging him with mail fraud and making false statements on his tax returns and was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Marcia Crone.  Blair was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.5 million.

            According to information presented in court, between 2000 and 2007, Blair served as the business administrator for a local church in Carrollton, Texas.  During this time, he embezzled more than $1.2 million from the church by diverting these funds to his personal expenditures.  In connection with his scheme to defraud, Blair understated the amounts of his taxable income for tax years 2001 through 2006, thereby owing an additional $262,663 in taxes.   The amount of restitution includes the amount stole from the church and the amount owed to the government for taxes.

            Mike Lahey, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations Dallas Field Office, highlighted the importance of the prosecution,  "Like many other illegal activities, embezzlement is a crime that not only runs the risk of being punished for the underlying crime, but also for the subsequent tax evasion that most criminals commit in trying to hide their criminal acts."

            Blair was ordered to surrender to the U.S. Marshal's Service on Sep. 7, 2009, to be transported to federal prison and begin serving his sentence.

            This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shamoil T. Shipchandler. 

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