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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 24, 2014

Financial Advisor Sentenced To 2 Years In Prison For Tax Scheme

FRESNO, Calif. — Bay Area resident William James Kenney, 68, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Anthony W. Ishii to 24 months in prison for filing a false tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, Kennedy sent tax returns to the Fresno IRS office in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, in which he underreported his taxable income. As a financial advisor, Kennedy touted a variety of tax avoidance schemes to his clients, such as the use of corporation “soles” (a corporate form that enables religious leaders to hold property and conduct business for the religious entity) and debt elimination programs. Kennedy was compensated by his clients for his financial services, but failed to properly report that income on his tax returns. In 2002, he claimed an improper charitable deduction to an entity that was one of his own corporation soles. As a result of Kennedy’s conduct, the United States incurred a tax loss of approximately $627,000. As part of his plea agreement, Kennedy was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in this amount.

Judge Ishii stated that the sentence he imposed was warranted because Kennedy committed a serious scheme that continued for at least four years, resulting in a loss to the IRS of over $600,000. This case was the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. McKeon prosecuted the case.

Press Release Number: 
Docket #: 1:12-cr-350 AWI
Updated April 8, 2015