Destin Business Entrepreneur Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for 7 Years of Tax Evasion
PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Trenton S. Sommerville, 48, of Destin, Florida, was sentenced Friday afternoon to 51 months in prison for wire fraud and tax evasion. The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
During his guilty plea in January 2016, Sommerville admitted that he obtained funds from investors for ventures he controlled, including that of an insurance provider and companies involved in gambling initiatives in the Caribbean. At Sommerville’s direction, investors wired funds or sent checks to Sommerville’s bank accounts in Destin, Florida, held in the names of these companies.
Sommerville concealed from investors that he would take a salary and pay for personal expenses with investment funds. He also did not invest any of his own capital in his ventures. As a result, between January 2011 and December 2014, Sommerville embezzled investment funds by making personal expenditures directly from corporate accounts, transferring investment funds to his personal account, and writing corporate checks to a family member. In addition, when certain investors asked to have their investments refunded, Sommerville used investment funds from other investors to pay refunds.
As of May 2012, Sommerville owed approximately $549,789.56 in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service for the tax years 2004 through 2010. He tried to evade paying taxes by concealing income and assets from the IRS through the use of nominee names and accounts, by using a cashier’s check to pay off the mortgage on his residence, and by selling his personal shares and instructing the buyer to wire the money into another bank account. Sommerville failed to file federal income tax returns for the tax years 2011 through 2013, despite earning approximately $585,214 in income and owing approximately $103,279 in taxes for those years.
This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Financial Intelligence Unit of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Assistant United States Attorney Alicia H. Kim prosecuted the case.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.
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