You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Nevada

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Las Vegas Lawyer/Former U.S. Attorney Sentenced to Prison for Failing to File Tax Returns

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – A Las Vegas lawyer who served as the U.S. Attorney for Nevada during the 1970’s, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison, one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay approximately $290,000 in restitution to the IRS for failing to file individual and corporate income tax returns from 2006 to 2010, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.

Lawrence J. Semenza, II, 72, pleaded guilty in August 2014 to three misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file a tax return, and was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. Semenza must report to federal prison by April 17, 2015.

“The consequences of failing to file your tax returns can be very serious,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden.  “At the end of the day, you are better off filing your return than facing penalties such as wage garnishments, asset seizures, prosecution, and, as in this case, prison time.”

“It is especially egregious that a former federal prosecutor should try to skirt his own tax obligations,” said John Collins, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation for Nevada.  “American taxpayers have a right to expect that everyone will be held to the same standard of tax compliance.  No one, regardless of current or former position, is above the law.”

According to the guilty plea agreement, Semenza operated his law practice in Las Vegas as a subchapter C personal service corporation. For the years 2006 through 2010, Semenza individually had taxable income of approximately $655,000, and the corporation had taxable income of approximately $345,000, but Semenza failed to file individual or corporate income tax returns for those years, and failed to pay the tax due and owing to the IRS, totaling about $290,000.

           The case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric Johnson and Nicholas D. Dickinson.
Updated February 4, 2015