North Carolina Resident Pleads Guilty to Tax and Bankruptcy Fraud
Concealed Assets to Evade IRS Collection Efforts
A Greensboro, North Carolina, resident pleaded guilty to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), filing a fraudulent tax return and bankruptcy fraud, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Hairston for the Middle District of North Carolina.
According to documents and information provided to the court, during 2008 and 2009, Hassie Demond Nowlin, aka Demond Nowlin and Brilliant Knowlin, 44, filed several fraudulent tax returns with the IRS that included fake income and withholding taxes and sought more than $750,000 in fraudulent refunds. Nowlin also filed documents with the Guilford County Register of Deeds purporting to renounce his United States citizenship and proclaiming to be a sovereign citizen. Between 2008 and 2010, the IRS assessed taxes, penalties and interest against Nowlin related to the fraudulent returns. After being notified of the assessments, Nowlin began concealing his assets and placing them in the names of nominee entities.
Nowlin also admitted that between 2011 and 2017, he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars operating a tax preparation business. Nowlin filed hundreds of tax returns for clients that claimed phony business and education expenses, sought refunds to which the clients were not entitled and did not identify him as the paid preparer. Nowlin caused the fees to be deposited into nominee bank accounts that he controlled. Nowlin also admitted that he made false statements to IRS agents, including that he did not prepare tax returns for clients.
In addition to the tax-related charges, Nowlin also admitted to attempting to cheat his creditors by filing fraudulent personal bankruptcy petitions. Along with these petitions, Nowlin also submitted false financial statements on which he did not fully disclose his income and assets.
Nowlin is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 16, 2017 before U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison for impeding the IRS and filing a fraudulent return and five years in prison for bankruptcy fraud. In addition, Nowlin faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Hairston commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Robert J. Boudreau of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy of the Middle District of North Carolina, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.