Omaha Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Defraud the United States in Collection of Income Taxes
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg announced that on February 27, 2013, an Information was filed in United States District Court for the District of Nebraska charging Michael D. Haffke age 50 of Omaha Nebraska, with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The maximum penalty for the offense is five years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Haffke appeared before United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Bataillon for arraignment on February 27, 2013 and entered a plea of guilty to the conspiracy charge. Sentencing has been set for May 31, 2013.
According to the Information, from January 1, 2000, through on or about December 31, 2007, Haffke participated in a conspiracy with fraudulent tax planners and others which was designed to hide or remove his name from income producing assets for the purpose of evading personal tax liabilities. As part of the conspiracy, Haffke created in excess of 40 nominee entities purporting to claim ownership of assets that were actually owned and controlled by Haffke. A limited partnership called The Rock Place was created and the partnership purported to lease equipment, real estate and improvements from the nominee entities for the purpose of artificially increasing costs in order to reduce income of the partnership which would have been attributed to Haffke for tax purposes. However, monies from these purported lease payments were deposited into nominee bank accounts in Colorado and the funds were ultimately distributed to Haffke for his own personal use. As a further part of this scheme, Haffke did not file any personal tax returns during the years 2003 through 2008. The IRS determined the tax loss associated with the scheme was $422,350.00.
In 2012, Haffke did file personal tax returns with the IRS for tax years 2003 through 2007. As part of the plea agreement, Haffke has agreed to work with the IRS to determine what additional taxes might be due and owing and to satisfy those tax liabilities.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division. Sybil Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service CID, stated, “Placing income and property in the names of nominee corporations to conceal the true facts from the IRS is not tax planning; it’s criminal activity.”