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Press Release

Ocala Man Sentenced For Conspiracy To Commit Wire Fraud And Filing A False Tax Return

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

Ocala, Florida – U.S. District Judge Roy Dalton, Jr. has sentenced Donald Edward Smith to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to three years in prison for filing a false federal income tax return, the sentences to be served concurrently. In addition, the Court ordered Smith to pay $3,632,880.95 in restitution to his victims, including $245,753 to the IRS for the federal income tax violation. The Court has also ordered forfeited two pieces of real property and the sales proceeds from a third piece of real property. The Court also entered a forfeiture judgment in the amount of $1,450,000.

According to court documents, from approximately September 2011, through September 2015, Smith conspired to engage in a wire fraud scheme to defraud individuals who were interested in investing in green technology and other projects. Smith promised victims lucrative returns, as well as access to hundreds of millions of dollars in financing, but the funds and/or loans never materialized. Further, Smith knowingly failed to report as income the fraudulent proceeds he received from the investor/victims for the year 2012.

Smith also participated in a separate scheme involving investments in a purported Styrofoam recycling business.

“While our primary responsibility is to ensure the integrity of our nation’s tax system, IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents are also committed to maintaining the health of our economy by protecting taxpayers from those who might defraud aspiring investors,” stated Acting Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui. “We will continue to lend our unique financial investigative skills to joint efforts such as this one to bring to justice scofflaws like Mr. Smith. We warn would-be investors to exercise due diligence when selecting an investment and to remember that an opportunity that sounds too good to be true, probably is.”

This case was investigated by the IRS – Criminal Investigation, the FBI, and the Office of Financial Regulation – Bureau of Financial Investigations for the State of Florida. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Talbot and Bonnie Glober.

Updated October 19, 2018

Financial Fraud