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Press Release

Lake County Man Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For Tax Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell has sentenced Douglas V. Oakes (62, Lake County) to 30 months in federal prison for tax evasion, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Oakes had pleaded guilty on November 18, 2020.

According to court documents, Oakes tried to evade and defeat the payment of federal income taxes that he owed for tax years 2002 to 2005. In August 2015, after the IRS initiated collection actions, Oakes submitted a signed statement to the IRS in which he represented that he was not employed or self-employed, earned no income, and did not have a financial interest in any business entities. In fact, at that time, Oakes was working for, LLC (“DI”) d/b/a Automotive Capital Corporation, a company in which he had a significant financial interest and from which he was earning approximately $400,000 per year. To conceal from the IRS his financial interest in DI, Oakes registered his daughters as DI’s managing members with the Florida Department of State, removed his name from DI’s website and bank account, and removed his profile from the website LinkedIn.

In addition, in September 2015, Oakes submitted a sham rent agreement to the IRS representing that he and his wife were renting their 4,321 sq. ft. lakefront home in Orlando from DI for $1 per month. In November 2015, Oakes further attempted to conceal his assets from the IRS by purchasing a new beachfront home in Merritt Island for $1 million in the name of a nominee. 

In July 2017, following the death of his daughter, Oakes caused posthumous tax returns to be prepared for Oakes’s deceased daughter in which DI’s income from 2010 through 2015 was falsely claimed to be entirely his deceased daughter’s income. In fact, between 2010 and 2015, Oakes earned approximately $2.2 million in income from DI, including payments that Oakes caused to be made from DI’s business bank account for credit card payments, luxury car payments, and the rent for his lakefront home.

The total tax loss to the United States in this case was $1,112,651.

“We teach our kids that lying is often what gets them in the most trouble.  That does not change when we become adults,” stated Special Agent in Charge Brian Payne of IRS Criminal Investigation. “Mr. Oakes broke the law when he failed to uphold his duty to pay an honest tax, but then he made his situation worse by spinning a tangled web of lies. IRS Special Agents take great pride in persistently uncovering the truth, and that’s what they did in this case. This tax filing season, I am putting would-be tax evaders on notice that cheating does not pay.”

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Chauncey A. Bratt and Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer M. Harrington.

Updated February 18, 2021

Financial Fraud