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Las Vegas man headed to jail for nearly $2M in tax evasion

Fabulous Las Vegas May 13 2009

Tax crimes that happen in Vegas, don't stay in Vegas. They end up with the convicted felon heading to federal prison.

That's what happened to Scott H. Lawrence.

The Las Vegas man pleaded guilty in July to more than $1.9 million in federal tax evasion. On Nov. 3, he was sentenced to one year and one day in jail.

Growing tax evasion scheme: The tax troubles that finally landed Lawrence in jail grew out of an attempt to keep the Internal Revenue Service from collecting an earlier tax bill. And the criminal effort was years in the making, according to statements from the Department of Justice.

In March 2010, the Internal Revenue Service levied Lawrence's personal bank account in connection with an outstanding tax debt.

To thwart that collection effort, Lawrence cashed large portions of his wife's paycheck to keep that money out of a bank account the IRS could levy, according to legal documents and statements made in court.

Then in 2011, say IRS Criminal Investigation officers who handled the case, Lawrence began depositing his wife's entire paycheck and other earnings into the corporate bank account of Turn Two Inc., his real estate company. That business account was not subject to IRS collection attempts.

Second business created to hide income: Investigators say Lawrence also directed his wife to create a new business, D Lawrence Hospitality LLC (DLH), and to open a business bank account for that company. He funneled much of his and his wife's personal income through DLH.

Lawrence concealed the existence and personal use of DLH's bank account from the IRS, say federal officials, impeding IRS actions to collect the couple's unpaid taxes. He also had his attorney send a materially misleading letter to the IRS, and used an intentionally overdrawn bank account to pay his taxes.

All those moves, say federal law enforcement agents, enabled Lawrence to evade paying more than $1.9 million in delinquent taxes from 2005 through 2019.

In addition to the 366 days behind bars, the U.S. District Judge for the District of Nevada ordered Lawrence to serve two years of supervised release, and to pay approximately $1,905,325 in restitution to the U.S. Treasury.

Tax felon friday_smallerTax Felon Friday: As evidenced by this case, and others cited in the weekly Tax Felon Friday feature, in addition to being good at their jobs, tax investigators and prosecutors are persistent.

You might get away with a tax evasion scheme for a while, but chances are good that IRS-CI investigators are on to you. When that happens, they will keep at it until, like Lawrence, you end up in a courtroom.

You can catch up on previous tax crime posts, including those that were published long before I gave them a special designation, in the, what else, tax crimes category. You'll find this post at the top of that collection right now, so just scroll down for more.

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