Two Area Men Indicted in Conspiracy to Avoid Taxes on $4.7 Million
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that the owner of a Springfield, Mo., business and a Greene County, Mo., man have been indicted by a federal grand jury for their roles in a conspiracy to avoid paying taxes on $4.7 million in receipts.
Wesley Vernon Delport, 68, of Ozark, Mo., and Alton Louis Vaughn, Sr., 58, of Greene County, were charged in a six-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Springfield on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014. That indictment was unsealed and made public today upon their arrests and initial court appearances. Both Delport and Vaughn remain in federal custody pending a detention hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2015.
Delport was the owner of Abundant Health & Wellness, a business described as a holistic health clinic, located in Springfield. Vaughn was self-employed and derived a portion of his income from assisting in the preparation of federal income tax returns, advising taxpayers regarding their dealings with the IRS, and representing others in their dealings with the IRS.
The federal indictment alleges that Delport received approximately $4,710,335 in gross receipts for Abundant Health & Wellness from Jan. 1, 2004, to Dec. 31, 2013, which he did not report to the IRS as required by law and upon which he did not pay taxes.
According to the indictment, Delport purported to create an entity called The Shammah Foundation, which he described as “A Corporation Sole” the purpose of which was, “to do whatever will promote the Kingdom Of God, All Righteousness and the principles of Liberty and Justice,” on May 7, 2002, in the state of Washington. Delport allegedly transferred funds from the bank account of Abundant Health & Wellness to the bank account of The Shammah Foundation, and used The Shammah Foundation bank account to pay his personal expenses, without reporting those funds to the IRS as income or paying any taxes.
Vaughn allegedly advised and assisted Delport in his attempts to avoid IRS efforts to ascertain, compute, assess, and collect federal income taxes, and sometimes acted as Delport’s representative in dealings with the IRS and the federal court.
The indictment also alleges that Delport attempted to impede and delay an IRS examination of his tax liability by filing documents that consisted of lengthy and frivolous arguments. According to the indictment, Delport described himself as a “Sovereign National” and claimed the IRS is “a bogus agency not of government.” Delport allegedly attempted to place his funds and assets beyond the reach of the IRS by putting them in the names of his wife and daughter.
Delport and Vaughn allegedly attempted to impede the federal grand jury investigation by, among other things, refusing to comply with federal grand jury subpoenas for tax and business records and falsely claiming that an IRS revenue officer had personally seized and collected all of Delport’s original documents. They allegedly counseled an employee to refuse to testify before the grand jury and provided this employee with a written statement (which contained an inaccurate statement of the law) to read to the grand jury in lieu of complying with her legal obligation to testify. They allegedly attempted to impede the criminal investigation by falsely reporting to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that an IRS revenue officer and an IRS criminal investigator had coerced, intimidated and threatened Delport.
Delport and Vaughn allegedly assisted an employee of Abundant Health & Wellness and her husband in impeding IRS efforts to collect the taxes the couple owed. They did so, the indictment says, by paying the employee’s salary to her daughter, who did not work at Abundant Health & Wellness. They refused to comply with IRS requests and summonses for documents and records, the indictment says. Delport falsely claimed that the employee was an unpaid intern of his business, the indictment says.
Delport and Vaughn are charged together in one count of participating in a conspiracy to defraud the government. In addition to the conspiracy, Delport is charged with one count of obstructing or impeding the administration of internal revenue laws and two counts of filing false income tax returns. Vaughn is also charged with two counts of aiding and assisting the filing of false income tax returns.
Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.