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Justice News

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

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bend Businessman Pleads Guilty to Filing False Tax Return

Businessman Claimed $3.2 Million in Charitable Donations that Were Never Made

PORTLAND, Ore. – On Monday, December 12, 2016, Stephen Miles Munson, 72, of Bend, Oregon, pleaded guilty to willfully filing a false tax return. According to court documents, on his 2008 federal income tax return, Munson falsely claimed that he donated 200,000 shares of stock to the University of Oregon and Stanford University. He claimed the shares had an alleged value of $3.2 million. In reality, Munson never made the claimed donations.

On October 8, 2015, Munson was charged in a multi-count indictment with willfully filing a false tax return and bankruptcy fraud. He is a retired U.S. Army Captain with degrees from the University of Oregon and Stanford University. In 1991, Munson started Vulcan Power Company, a geothermal energy company in Bend, Oregon, and served in the company in different capacities, including president and chief executive officer, until 2008. In 2008, he sold a controlling interest in Vulcan Power Company for almost $15 million. On his 2008 federal income tax return, Munson fraudulently claimed that amount as a charitable deduction, and due to his alleged donation, he requested and fraudulently received a $407,019 refund from the Internal Revenue Service for the 2008 tax year. As part of his plea agreement, Munson agreed that the loss to the IRS for the false 2008 tax return was $2,422,202.

In January 2011, Munson entered into voluntary bankruptcy proceedings. According to court records, Munson submitted his false 2008 federal income tax return in support of his bankruptcy and omitted almost $200,000 in assets, more than $200,000 in gifts, more than $7 million in transfers to insiders and affiliates, and a $16,786 state tax refund from his original bankruptcy filings. As part of the plea agreement, Munson agreed that the loss associated with this conduct is approximately $7.5 million.

Sentencing is set for June 9, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. in the United States District Court in Portland, Courtroom 16 before Judge Michael W. Mosman. This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Scott E. Bradford, Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.

Updated December 13, 2016