Ocala Man Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud And Executing A False Income Tax Return
Jacksonville, Florida – Donald Edward Smith (65, Ocala) has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to executing a false income tax return. He faces a maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, between September 2011 and September 2015, Smith and others conspired to engage in a scheme to defraud individuals who were interested in investing in green technology and other projects. Operating under his company, Legacy Investments of Brandon, Inc., Smith solicited funds from investors and promised lucrative returns, as well as access to hundreds of millions of dollars in financing. He was assisted by others that purported to offer services to the investors to obtain funding and/or loans for their projects. These funding opportunities and/or loans never materialized.
Smith knowingly failed to report as income the fraudulent proceeds he received from the victim-investors during 2012. For that tax year, he reported a negative income of $15,122 on his Form 1040, when he should have reported $560,924 as income. His failure to do so resulted in a tax loss of $163,726 to the United States. In his plea agreement, Smith agreed to pay approximately $1.45 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme. He also agreed to pay $1,937,127.95 in restitution to victims of a separate scheme involving investments in a purported Styrofoam recycling business, and to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service for the tax loss resulting from the false 2012 Form 1040. Additionally, he agreed to forfeit two parcels of real property, sales proceeds from the sale of a third parcel of real property, a number of vehicles, a backhoe, and $1.45 million.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation –Bureau of Financial Investigations. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Talbot and Bonnie Glober.