Columbus, Ohio, Home Builder, Accountant and Realtor Indicted in Tax Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury has returned an 18-count superseding indictment charging Thomas E. Parenteau of Columbus, Ohio; Dennis G. Sartain of Hilliard, Ohio; and Bonnie Helt-Adams of Dublin, Ohio, with tax fraud, bank and wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today.
Parenteau and Sartain were indicted in September 2008 for an obstruction of justice conspiracy and witness tampering and have been detained since their arrests at that time. The superseding indictment includes additional allegations and adds Helt-Adams as a co-defendant. The case is assigned to Judge Michael H. Watson in Columbus.
According to the superseding indictment, Parenteau operated and controlled a number of Columbus-area businesses that were owned in the name of his wife, including Advanced Precast Building Systems LLC, Parenteau Builders LLC, Your Home Source LLC and MKP Investments LLC. Sartain has been Parenteau’s primary accountant since 2000. Helt-Adams is a licensed real estate agent who listed and sold many of Parenteau’s luxury homes and formally joined Your Home Source, LLC in 2005.
The superseding indictment alleges that Parenteau and Sartain prepared and filed four false income tax returns for Parenteau’s mistress that generated over $700,000 in fraudulent refunds, which went to Parenteau. The superseding indictment also charges Parenteau and Sartain with conspiracy to commit money laundering related to $18 million in fraudulently obtained loan proceeds secured against Parenteau’s home at 4500 Dublin Road, known as Loretta Estate – a 27,000 square foot residence that sits on 4.8 acres on the Scioto River in Dublin, Ohio.
In addition, the superseding indictment alleges that Parenteau and Helt-Adams engaged in a scheme to defraud lending and financial institutions out of millions of dollars by falsely inflating the purchase price of the homes Parenteau built and sold in exchange for paying large undisclosed or disguised kickbacks to the buyers after their purchases.
Finally, the superseding indictment alleges that after learning of the IRS investigation into the tax, bank fraud and money laundering schemes, Parenteau, Helt-Adams and Sartain engaged in a scheme to obstruct justice by concealing computers, creating false documents, destroying or altering evidence, tampering with a witness, lying to federal and local investigators and otherwise obstructing justice.
An indictment is merely a formal charge by the grand jury. Each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in U.S. District Court. If convicted, Parenteau faces a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison and a fine of over $4 million; Sartain faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison and a fine of over $1.5 million; Helt-Adams faces a maximum sentence of 105 years in prison and a fine of nearly $3 million.
The case is being prosecuted by Justice Department Tax Division Trial Attorneys Richard M. Rolwing, Jill M. Cassara and Sean B. O’Connell. The case was investigated by the IRS, Criminal Investigation Division.
Additional information about the Justice Department’s Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/. Additional information about tax fraud schemes to watch out for may be found on the IRS Criminal Investigation Web site at http://www.ustreas.gov/irs/ci/.