El Dorado County Couple Found Guilty of Tax Fraud
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — After an 8-day trial, a federal jury found El Dorado Hills couple Brian Beland, 39, and Denae Beland, 40, guilty in an effort to circumvent paying federal income taxes, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
“When the IRS began a civil audit of Brian and Danae Beland’s taxes, the defendants tried to hide their crimes through false expenses, telling falsehoods to the civil examiner, and obstructing the IRS audit,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert. “This trial is an example of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those who fail to comply with their federal tax obligations.”
“Falsifying documents and filing fraudulent tax returns is a crime,” said Darren Lian, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation’s Oakland Field Office. “We should not forget that the ultimate victims in tax fraud cases are the people of the United States – those honest taxpayers who diligently and truthfully file tax returns each year. IRS-CI will continue to focus our investigative efforts on individuals and businesses who cheat on their taxes and do not comply with the law. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the dedication of our agents that resulted in Mr. and Mrs. Beland’s guilty verdict by the jury.”
For filing false tax returns that illegally claimed both personal expenses and fabricated expenses as tax deductions, Brian Beland has been found guilty of three counts of a filing false tax return for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013. Brian Beland and Denae Beland were both found guilty of corruptly impeding their tax audit.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Brian Beland was a mortgage broker for Wells Fargo and then Bank of America from 2011 through 2013. He claimed business expenses in excess of $800,000 for all three years, effectively paying only a 2% tax on the more than $1.1 million he earned. Denae Beland is an attorney licensed by the California State Bar. When the IRS began a civil audit of their taxes, Brian and Denae Beland tried to hide their crimes by falsely claiming that personal expenses were business expenses, telling falsehoods to the civil examiner, and obstructing the IRS audit by not providing requested documents.
For the IRS audit, the Belands, claiming their business records had been shredded or lost, recreated spreadsheets of their business expenses that listed various items as business expenses that were actually personal expenses, including travel to Europe, the Eiffel Tower, Hawaii and Cancun; wine racks and a personalized wine bottle in their wine cellar; a California king bed; patio furniture; automated tiki torches; birthday party and baby shower expenses; home gym exercise flooring; and other items. In June 2016, the IRS executed a search warrant at their house in El Dorado Hills. In addition to finding many pieces of furniture and household goods that had been claimed as business expenses, agents also found tax records and receipts, despite the Belands’ claims that all records and receipts had been destroyed.
This case is the product of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Veronica M.A. Alegría and Lee S. Bickley are prosecuting the case.
Brian and Danae Beland are scheduled to be sentenced on June 20, 2023, by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb. Brian Beland faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for each count of filing a false tax return. Brian and Denae Beland each face a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 for corruptly endeavoring to impede the tax audit. The actual sentences, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Updated April 6, 2023