WADE AND LAURA COOK SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR TAX EVASION, FILING FALSE TAX RETURNS AND OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE
Financial Guru and his Wife failed to Report Millions in Income and Falsified Documents to Derail Governments Investigation
WADE B. COOK, 57, and LAURA COOK, 54, of Fall City, Washington, were sentenced to prison today in U.S. District Court in Seattle. WADE COOK was sentenced to 88 months in prison and three years of supervised release for Tax Evasion, Failing to File Tax Returns and Obstruction of Justice. LAURA COOK was sentenced to 18 months in prison for Obstruction of Justice. Both are responsible for more than $3.7 million in restitution to the IRS. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly noted that “between 1998 and 2000 more than $9.5 million in royalties were paid to the Cooks and no tax was ever paid. All the money was diverted from entity to entity for the benefit of the Cooks.... There is nothing wrong with buying property or jewelry or cars, but most people pay taxes.”
WADE COOK organized and lectured at hundreds of seminars on a wide range of financial and asset protection topics. COOK authored many books including Wall Street Money Machine, Wealth 101, Brilliant Deductions, and Business by the Bible. Testimony at trial revealed that in 1998, 1999 and 2000 the COOKs reported adjusted gross incomes of approximately $350,000. The government presented evidence that they did not report, and willfully concealed, receipt of approximately $9.5 million in royalties from WADE COOK’s many books and seminars despite using such funds for their personal benefit. By not disclosing those royalties on their tax returns, they received and utilized those monies tax free. As part of the tax fraud WADE and LAURA COOK created a fictitious limited partnership, called Never Ending Wealth, LP (NEW), which was in turn ostensibly owned by a type of tax exempt entity called a charitable remainder trust. Purportedly, the trust was for the benefit of the Mormon Church. In truth, the trust was simply a vehicle for WADE and LAURA COOK to fraudulently conceal their royalty income and spend it as they wished. No funds were left in the trust for the church.
After a 19 day trial the jury convicted WADE COOK on the majority of the charges, but
was unable to reach a verdict on LAURA COOK. She pleaded guilty to Obstruction of Justice on May 16, 2007. In her plea agreement LAURA COOK admitted that in July 2003, she created documents on her home computer. The false documents attempted to portray money the COOKS took from the limited partnership as loans in an effort to avoid criminal charges.
At sentencing Assistant United States Attorney Robert Westinghouse told the court WADE COOK “is prepared to blame everyone else for his problems, even his wife.... He has no willingness to acknowledge what he has done in the past was wrong. (The government) is asking for a long sentence that the defendant has justifiably earned.”
Judge Zilly agreed, observing that there is “a darker side” to WADE COOK that he needed to consider. Judge Zilly said he was troubled that COOK had previously been charged with selling unregistered securities in Arizona. And Judge Zilly noted that COOK had previously reached a
$4 million settlement with the IRS, for prior tax years, before returning once again to tax evasion. “It was only because of the defendants foot-dragging and concealment that this investigation lasted as long as it did,” Zilly said.
In sentencing LAURA COOK, Judge Zilly noted that he was very concerned that on two occasions she lied under oath in interviews with the government. Judge Zilly said it was even more troubling that at trial this year, the COOKs tried to persuade him to allow that false testimony to go to the jury. “That’s very troubling that you participated in the fraud, that you lied about it to the government, and then you tried to use it at trial knowing it was a lie.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Westinghouse and Kurt Hermanns. For further information, they can be reached at (206) 553-7970, or (253) 428-3800.
For assistance, contact Emily Langlie, the Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Washington, at (206) 553-4110.