Northwest Indiana Businessman Who Used Sham Trusts Sentenced To Prison For Tax Fraud
WASHINGTON – Donald Sikma, a businessman from Dyer, Ind., was sentenced to 24 months in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Theresa L. Springmann in Fort Wayne, Ind., the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.
In June 2009, Sikma pleaded guilty to one count of filing false tax returns for the 1998 tax year. According to court records, Sikma sheltered millions of dollars of income using a tax avoidance scheme promoted by the now-defunct Aegis Company. As part of this scheme, Sikma transferred portions of his income to an offshore trust. Sikma failed to report this income on his individual income tax returns. Using the offshore Aegis trust and other sham trusts, Sikma fraudulently avoided paying at least $1.13 million in federal income taxes.
According to the plea agreement, Sikma has paid approximately $3.5 million in federal and state back taxes, including penalties and interest, and has agreed to cooperate with the IRS in continuing assessments.
The six principal promoters of the Aegis trust scheme were convicted of a tax fraud conspiracy and other tax crimes following a jury trial in May 2008 in Chicago. These Aegis promoters have been sentenced Aegis to terms of imprisonment ranging from ten to eighteen years.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ronald A. Cimino of the Justice Departments Tax Division commended the IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents who investigated the case, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane Berkowitz from the Northern District of Indiana and Tax Division trial attorney Joseph Rillotta who prosecuted the case.