News and Press Releases


April 1, 2005

DAT THANH BUI, 31, of Seattle and DAVID MICHAELS NGUYEN, 32, of Seattle were sentenced in United States District Court in Seattle today for financial crimes related to tax fraud. BUI was sentenced to three years in prison and two years of supervised release for Structuring Financial Transactions to Evade Reporting Requirements. NGUYEN was sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of supervised release for Making and Subscribing a False Income Tax Return. BUI owned a now defunct business: Apex General Services. NGUYEN served as the company bookkeeper.

Apex was a Washington corporation with approximately 60 employees. The company provided low-skilled, temporary employees for various businesses in Seattle, including Triple B Corporation, Cascade Designs and George Heiser Auto Body.

According to BUI's plea agreement, between June 1, 2000 and February 3, 2004, BUI cashed about 872 checks at local check cashing outlets such as Dollarwise, Money Mart, Moneytree, and A-1 Check Cashing. On approximately 135 different occasions, BUI knowingly structured about $3 million worth of checks he received from his clients. He instructed the clients to issue multiple checks to Apex, in amounts under $10,000, to evade requirements that transactions over that amount be reported to federal authorities.

In court today, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly told BUI "This was a substantial endeavor on your part to break our laws.... Obviously you knew it was wrong at the time and you continued to do it."

NGUYEN, as an officer of Apex General Services, signed the U.S. Corporate Income Tax Return for 2002 stating the gross receipts for the company were just $46,823. In fact, Apex's actual gross receipts were $1,809,220. For tax year 2001 NGUYEN signed the return reporting just $13,038 in gross receipts when in fact gross receipts were $1,035,992.

According to the plea agreement, NGUYEN provided the company's tax preparer only with information related to income that was deposited into, and expenses that were paid out of, the company bank account. NGUYEN knew that most of the checks it received from its customers were not deposited but were simply cashed at various check cashing establishments. Most employees were paid in cash, and their wages were not reported nor were the required taxes reported or withheld. For example, in the Fourth Quarter of 2003, Apex reported $8,684 paid in wages when in fact the company had paid $334,565 in wages.

In sentencing NGUYEN Judge Zilly stated, "This defendant did sign many of the tax returns. I'm satisfied he knew they were false."

As a condition of their supervised release, both men are required to cooperate with the IRS in determining the amount of tax, penalties and interest owed. Both are to pay in full any outstanding tax liability once assessed.

The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant United States Attorney Susan Loitz prosecuted the case. For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206)553-4110.

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