Michigan Tax Defiers Sentenced to Jail for Tax Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON - David A. Cusumano of Plymouth, Mich., and Henry Nino, a resident of Northville, Mich., were sentenced today following their pleas of guilty to tax evasion, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) announced today. District Court Judge Gerald E. Rosen, presiding in Detroit, sentenced Cusumano to 15 months and Nino to 18 months in prison. Judge Rosen also imposed three years of supervised release for each defendant.
According to court documents, Cusumano was a mechanical engineer who worked at various companies throughout Michigan. Nino was an electrician with an automotive company. Despite earning substantial income in their respective jobs, for multiple years, Cusumano and Nino failed to file income tax returns and failed to pay taxes due and owing to the IRS, Cusumano during the calendar years 2003-2008 and Nino during the calendar years 2004-2008. Both men successfully prevented their employers from withholding federal income taxes from their wages by submitting false IRS Forms W-4 to their employers on which they falsely claimed they were “exempt” from income tax withholding. A Form W-4 is a document that an employee submits to an employer to assist the employer in withholding the correct amount of income taxes from the employee’s pay.
The plea agreements state that in addition to failing to file income tax returns and submitting false Forms W-4 to their employers, the two men also attempted to prevent the IRS from determining their tax liabilities and collecting their unpaid taxes by participating in several obstructive schemes. Both men paid tax fraud promoters, including a Florida-based organization called American Rights Litigators/Guiding Light of God Ministries to submit frivolous and obstructive correspondence to the IRS and to the defendants’ employers, including false complaints that wrongly accused IRS employees of criminal activity. Cusumano and Nino also submitted multiple fake financial instruments to the IRS in a failed attempt to pay off their outstanding tax debts.
Court documents state that Nino also attempted to prevent the IRS from collecting his unpaid taxes for the years 1996, 1997 and 2000-2003 by, among other things, transferring title of his personal residence to a nominee entity called the Michigan Natural Group, using money orders to make mortgage payments and cashing paychecks rather than depositing them in a bank account.
Cusumano caused a tax loss to the government of $390,145. Nino’s conduct resulted in a tax loss of $366,088. Under the terms of their plea agreements, both are required to make restitution to the IRS in the amount of their unpaid taxes.
This case was investigated by Special Agents from IRS-CI, and prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Jeffrey A. McLellan and Melissa S. Siskind of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.