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Press Release

Fort Walton Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Million Dollar Tax Crime, Mail Fraud, and Conspiracy

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

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced that Douglas Edward Henderson, 51, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty today to an Information charging him with five counts of submitting a false tax return, two counts of aiding in the preparation of a false tax return, one count of mail fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Henderson admitted that as the president of Henderson Electric Heat and Air Conditioning and Henderson Electric, Inc., both located in Okaloosa County, Florida, he caused personal expenses to be paid from the business accounts for the years 2008 through 2010, and caused their false classification as business expenses associated with contracts between his companies and MacDill Air Force base.  These items were then falsely deducted on corporate tax returns and the personal income was never reported on Henderson’s individual income tax return.  Following notification of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service, Henderson caused misclassified invoices to be presented to the IRS in an attempt to make these personal expenses paid by his businesses appear legitimate.

Henderson also admitted that he engaged in a fraudulent short sale of his condominium in Miramar Beach, Florida, using a family trust and the cooperation of a third party.  Henderson and the third party arranged to make an offer of $664,000 to purchase the unit on which Henderson had a mortgage of more than $1.1 million.  The mortgage company, Vericrest, agreed to this sale; however, it would not have allowed the sale had it known that the transaction was being conducted on behalf of Henderson and that he had actually provided the funding to make the purchase.

Henderson is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief U.S. District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers on April 17, 2014 at 9 a.m.  He faces maximum penalties of 5 years in prison for each of the tax violations and 20 years each for the mail fraud and mail and wire fraud conspiracy.  Henderson faces up to a total of $1,200,000 in fines and forfeiture. 

The charges are the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Eggers.

Updated January 26, 2015