Las Vegas Couple Indicted for Tax Evasion Scheme
A federal grand jury in Las Vegas, Nevada, returned an indictment today charging a Las Vegas husband and wife with conspiring to defraud the IRS, tax evasion, filing a false tax return, assisting in the filing of false tax returns, and failing to file tax returns and pay federal income taxes.
According to allegations in the indictment, from at least 2005 through at least 2020, Scott H. Lawrence, a real estate professional, and Debra R. Lawrence, an owner of an interior design business, conspired to conceal their income and true financial condition from the IRS and to obstruct the IRS’s efforts to collect their unpaid tax liabilities. As part of the scheme, Scott and Debra Lawrence allegedly submitted to the IRS false documents, including false tax returns and collection information statements, that understated their true income. The indictment further alleges that Scott and Debra Lawrence sought to evade the payment of taxes owed for tax years 2005 to 2010 by cashing substantial portions of paychecks, thereby thwarting IRS levies and collection actions, and that they willfully failed to pay taxes for tax years 2014 to 2018. In total, Scott and Debra Lawrence are alleged to have caused a tax loss to the IRS of approximately $1,758,128.
Scott and Debra Lawrence are scheduled to make their initial court appearances on August 11, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Youchah of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for conspiracy to defraud the United States and for each count of tax evasion; three years in prison for each count of filing a false tax return and assisting in the filing of false tax returns; and one year in prison for each count of failing to file a tax return and failing to pay income taxes. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada made the announcement.
The IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating this case.
Trial Attorneys Valerie Preiss and Patrick Burns of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.