Businessowner Pleads Guilty To Bribing Former Chief of Collections for D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue
Mohammad Ezazul Hoque, 57, the owner of several Washington, D.C. restaurants, pled guilty today to one count of bribery for paying bribes to the former Chief of Collections of the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue (“OTR”) in exchange for the OTR official taking actions favorable to Hoque’s businesses. Hoque also pled guilty to one count of wire fraud for his execution of a multi-year scheme to obtain credit cards in others’ names, without their knowledge or consent, to fund his personal and business expenses.
The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin and Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson of the FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division.
As part of his plea, Hoque, of Alexandria, Virginia, admitted that from 2015 to 2017, as the unpaid tax liabilities on his businesses grew to be hundreds of thousands of dollars, Hoque paid more than $45,000 in bribes to the OTR official so that the official would change the status and limit the negative effects of the unpaid liabilities on the businesses. Hoque further admitted that, in 2016, in exchange for the bribes Hoque was paying, the OTR official released a lien on one of his businesses and provided a false certification that it had no outstanding tax liabilities so that Hoque could sell the business to a third party. In fact, Hoque still owed tens of thousands of dollars in taxes and related fees. As a result of the OTR official’s actions, Hoque was able to sell the business and make a more than $84,000 profit.
Hoque further admitted that, between 2013 and 2017, Hoque carried out a fraud scheme in which he obtained more than 15 credit cards from various financial institutions in the names of others without their knowledge or consent. Hoque admitted that he charged more than $40,000 in personal and business expenses to the cards he fraudulently obtained.
In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Sherwin and Special Agent in Charge Dawson commended the work of those who investigated the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office. They also acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Vaughn, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Bianca Forde, and Paralegal Specialist Joseph McClanahan.