Pizza Franchise Owner and Four Others Indicted for Alleged Federal Tax Fraud Crimes

July 17, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 16, 2013 released the following:

“WASHINGTON— The Justice Department announced today that Happy Asker, franchise owner of multiple Happy’s Pizza franchises, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit along with Maher Bashi, Tom Yaldo, Arkan Summa, and Tagrid Bashi for multiple tax offenses arising from a conspiracy to underreport taxable income and payroll taxes of nine Happy’s Pizza franchises. All defendants with the exception of Happy Asker were arrested.

A multiple-count indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District of Michigan charging Happy Asker, Maher Bashi, and Tom Yaldo with conspiracy to defraud the United States by keeping fraudulent accounting records and falsely reporting income taxes and payroll taxes due and owing.

The indictment alleges that from approximately June 2004 through April 2011, the defendants conspired with each other to divert business receipts, underreport wages, and understate the true income and expenses of specified Happy’s Pizza franchises. According to the indictment, the scheme resulted in the specified franchises paying more than $2.1 million in unreported wages to employees and shareholders.

Additional charges in the indictment include three counts of filing a false individual income tax return as to Happy Asker; 21 counts of aiding in the filing of false payroll tax returns as to Happy Asker and Maher Bashi; 23 counts of aiding in the filing of false payroll tax returns as to Tom Yaldo on behalf of specified Happy’s Pizza franchises; and 11 counts as to Happy Asker and Maher Bashi for aiding in filing false corporate tax returns on behalf of specified Happy’s Pizza franchises.

Finally, the indictment also charges Happy Asker and Maher Bashi with one count of obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws. Arkan Summa and Tagrid Bashi are also charged together in a count of obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws and Tom Yaldo is also charged with one count of obstructing the due administration of the internal revenue laws.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges of filing a false income tax return and aiding or assisting in filing a false return carry a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count. The obstruction charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each count.

This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI and is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Corey Smith and Trial Attorney Mark McDonald of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

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Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Allen Stanford sentenced to 110 years in prison

June 14, 2012

Reuters on June 14, 2012 released the following:

“By Anna Driver and Eileen O’Grady

(Reuters) – Allen Stanford, the former Texas billionaire convicted of an $7 billion Ponzi scheme, was sentenced to 110 years in prison by a U.S. federal judge on Thursday.

Stanford, who was convicted of 13 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy and obstruction by a Houston jury in March, used fraudulent certificates of deposit issued by his offshore bank in Antigua to bilk thousands of investors out of their savings.

In sentencing Stanford, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who presided over his six-week trial earlier this year, called Stanford’s actions one of the most “egregious criminal frauds.”

The 110-year sentence compared with 150 years handed down to Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty in March 2009 to running a Ponzi scheme.

Speaking before his sentencing on Thursday, Stanford denied defrauding anyone and blamed the U.S. government for ruining his business by seizing his assets. “They destroyed it and turned it to nothing,” he said. “Stanford was a real brick-and-mortar global financial empire.”

Prosecutors had asked for a 230-year sentence, arguing in court papers that Stanford’s crime was “one of the most egregious frauds in history.”

Stanford’s attorneys had asked for a sentence of about three years, or the same amount of time the 62-year-old has been in federal custody.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former President of Registered Investment Adviser Firm Charged with Allegedly Committing Mail Fraud and Obstruction

September 29, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 28, 2011 released the following:

“SAN FRANCISCO— Today the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California charged Kurt S. Hovan, of Belvedere, Calif., with mail fraud and obstruction, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The charges result from Hovan’s alleged fraudulent use of “soft dollars” and his subsequent obstruction of an investigation being conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the information filed today, Hovan, 43, is alleged to have created a scheme to defraud brokerage firms into paying “soft dollars” to Hovan’s brother, who then funneled the money back to benefit Hovan’s company, Hovan Capital Management, LLC (HCM). “Soft dollars” are credits from a brokerage firm on commissions generated by client trades in brokerage firm accounts. Brokerage firm clients, such as a registered investment adviser firm like HCM, are allowed to use those credits to pay for research services to benefit the investment adviser’s clients. The investment adviser, however, must disclose its use of these “soft dollar” credits, and the investment adviser is prohibited from using these credits to pay for its own benefit instead of its clients’ benefit.

According to the information, Hovan allegedly caused the creation of Bolton Research, LLC, in Connecticut. Hovan then submitted invoices to brokerage firms to support requests that those firms pay Bolton using HCM’s accumulated soft dollars. Hovan falsely claimed to the brokerage firms that Bolton’s invoices reflected charges for independent research Bolton had conducted to benefit HCM’s clients. The brokerage firms paid the invoices to Bolton, which was, in fact, simply Hovan’s brother. Hovan’s brother then funneled a substantial amount of the payments back to HCM to pay HCM’s rent.

In January 2010, the SEC asked Hovan to provide documentation of the purported independent research Bolton had conducted. In response, Hovan allegedly created false and misleading documents to falsely reflect that Bolton had conducted significant independent research, that Bolton had prepared reports summarizing the research, and that Bolton had done so on a schedule coinciding with the monthly soft dollar payments to Bolton. Hovan then produced these false documents to the SEC, and later falsely stated to the SEC that He did not create them.

Hovan’s initial appearance in federal court has not been scheduled. The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and five years of supervised release. The maximum statutory penalty for obstruction is five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Any sentence following conviction, however, would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Doug Sprague is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rayneisha Booth. The prosecution is the result of a five-month investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with substantial assistance from the San Francisco Regional Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Please note, an information contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Hovan must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 11-0699 RS”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Barry Bonds’ Obstruction Conviction in Steroids Probe Upheld by Federal Judge

August 29, 2011

Bloomberg on August 26, 2011 released the following:

“By Peter Blumberg

Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s home-run record holder, lost a bid to overturn his conviction for obstruction of justice in a government probe of steroid use by athletes, according to a court filing.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco issued a ruling yesterday denying the slugger’s request for an acquittal and refusing to grant a new trial.

Illston rejected Bonds’s argument that there was no crime in his 146-word answer to a grand jury about whether his trainer Greg Anderson ever gave him anything that required an injection with a syringe. His attorney, Dennis Riordan, said at an Aug. 25 hearing before Illston that the former San Francisco Giants outfielder took about 75 seconds to respond to prosecutors’ direct question and eventually answered “no.”

“Defendant repeatedly provided nonresponsive answers to questions about whether Anderson had ever provided him with injectables, resulting in the prosecuting attorneys asking clarifying question after clarifying question, and even once resulting in one prosecutor interrupting another who was about to move on to a new topic in order to clarify defendant’s mixed responses,” Illston wrote in her ruling. “An evasive answer about an issue material to the grand jury is not necessarily rendered immaterial by the later provision of a direct answer, even if that direct answer is true.”

Convicted in April

Bonds, 47, was convicted in April by a federal jury in San Francisco of obstructing a U.S. probe of steroid use by professional athletes. Jurors were unable to agree on whether Bonds lied when he told a grand jury in 2003 that he didn’t knowingly take steroids, didn’t take human growth hormone and didn’t receive injections by Anderson. A mistrial was declared on those counts.

Riordan didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment on the ruling after regular business hours.

Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record of 755 career home runs in August 2007. He was indicted in November of that year for allegedly lying to a 2003 grand jury about steroids use. He was the first Major League ballplayer to be charged in a years-long federal probe of steroid use in professional sports.

Bonds’s attorneys said at trial that he truthfully testified that he received performance-enhancing substances from Anderson without knowing what they were because the drugs were new at the time and Anderson told him one was flaxseed oil.

In the grand jury proceedings, Bonds didn’t say yes or no when asked if Anderson ever gave him anything “that required a syringe to inject yourself with.”

‘One Doctor’

He responded that he “only had one doctor touch me” and he didn’t talk baseball with his trainer or “get into other people’s business.” Bonds said that’s what kept his friendship with Anderson going.

“I became a celebrity child with a famous father,” Bonds told the grand jury, referring to his father, Bobby Bonds, a three-time All-Star who played for eight teams including the Giants and the New York Yankees. “I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see.”

At the Aug. 25 hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Merry Jean Chan argued that Bonds could have answered yes or no, “but instead went on this exploration of his relationship with Greg Anderson” and engaged in “rambling that the jury found was given to evade.”

Bonds’s eventual answer of “no” to the question was untruthful “in light of all the evidence at trial” including testimony from his former personal shopper who said she saw Bonds receiving an injection from Anderson, Chan said.

The case is U.S. v. Bonds, 07-00732, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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U.S. Army Sergeant and Associate Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Alleged Bribery Scheme Involving Contracts at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait

June 21, 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 21, 2011 released the following press release:

“WASHINGTON – An 11-count indictment unsealed today in federal court in Wheeling, W.V., charges an Army sergeant first class and his associate for their alleged roles in a bribery and money laundering scheme at Camp Arifjan, a U.S. military base in Kuwait, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld II for the Northern District of West Virginia.

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of West Virginia on June 8, 2011, charges Sergeant First Class Richard Evick, 41, of Parsons, W.V., with receiving more than $170,000 in bribes from two firms that had contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in Kuwait. The indictment also charges Evick and his associate, Crystal Martin, 48, of Pontiac, Mich., with laundering the bribe money through bank accounts in Kuwait and the United States. Evick and Martin were arrested today by FBI agents. Martin made her initial appearance today in Detroit before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mona K. Majzoub of the Eastern District of Michigan. Evick is expected to make his initial appearance tomorrow in Raleigh, N.C., before U.S. Magistrate Judge James E. Gates of the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The indictment alleges that Evick, a senior procurement non-commissioned officer who served at Camp Arifjan from February 2005 to December 2006, along with former Majors James Momon and Christopher Murray, awarded Army contracting business and improperly disclosed contracting information to two firms that were seeking contracts from the U.S. military. According to the indictment, as a result of the actions taken by Evick, Momon and Murray, these firms received nearly $25 million from contracts to deliver bottled water and other commodities to U.S. military bases in Iraq and Kuwait, as well as to paint and clean DoD facilities in Kuwait. In exchange, Evick, Momon and Murray allegedly received cash, airplane tickets, hotel accommodations, and the ability to conceal large amounts of cash in a hidden safe located in the villa of Wajdi Rezik Birjas, a DoD contract employee who worked in the host nation affairs office at Camp Arifjan.

The indictment also alleges that Evick entrusted his bribe money to Martin, a former Army master sergeant, who from October 2005 to December 2008, operated a concession to sell clothing and other items at various U.S. military bases in Kuwait and maintained bank accounts in Kuwait and the United States. The indictment alleges that Martin arranged to transfer the bribe money from Kuwait to the United States and into the possession of Evick, his wife and his girlfriend. Additionally, the indictment alleges that Evick and Martin assisted Momon’s efforts to retrieve between $200,000 and $250,000 of Momon’s bribe money from Birjas and to transfer that money from Kuwait to the United States.

Evick is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, two substantive bribery counts, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, six substantive money laundering counts and one count of obstructing an agency proceeding. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison on the bribery conspiracy charge, 15 years in prison for each of the bribery counts, 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy count and each of the substantive money laundering counts and five years in prison on the obstruction charge.

Martin is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and four substantive money laundering counts. She faces up to 20 years in prison for the money laundering conspiracy count and each of the substantive money laundering counts. Evick and Martin also face fines and a term of supervised release, if convicted. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of any property or money involved in the alleged offenses.

Momon, Murray and Birjas have pleaded guilty to crimes relating to their activities at Campr Arifjan and are awaiting sentencing.

As a result of this investigation, 17 individuals have pleaded guilty or been found guilty at trial for their roles in the corruption at Camp Arifjan, and four others, including Evick and Martin, are awaiting trial.

An indictment is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Peter C. Sprung and Timothy J. Kelly of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert McWilliams of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia. The ongoing investigation is being handled by the Army Criminal Investigation Division, Defense Criminal Investigation Service, FBI and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read The Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Several Indicted for Alleged Participation in $50 Million Aircraft Scheme

September 9, 2010

The owner of an aircraft leasing company, who was indicted earlier this year on commercial bribery charges, his corporation, and five new individual defendants are facing an expanded federal indictment alleging that they engaged in a fraudulent financing scheme that raised more than $50 million. Several defendants, including one additional defendant not charged in the fraud scheme, were charged with obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) lawsuit against the leasing company and its owner based on the allegedly fraudulent aircraft investment deals.

In all, seven individuals and a corporation were charged in a 21-count superseding indictment returned today by a federal grand jury. An eighth man, who is cooperating with the government, pleaded guilty last month to fraud and tax evasion, admitting that he accepted more than $400,000 in bribes as part of the scheme.

Typically, when someone is cooperating with government officials, that individual is providing information to the government in regards to the alleged scheme in order to get a plea arrangement or reduced sentence. Under this cooperation, the individual usually must provide all the information he knows regarding the alleged scheme. This usually results in the investigation and indictment of others based on the individuals’ information about the alleged scheme and those involved.

Brian Hollnagel, 37, of Chicago, the owner, president and chief executive officer of the defendant corporation, BCI Aircraft Leasing, Inc., was charged with 12 counts of wire fraud, two counts each of tax fraud and obstruction of the SEC lawsuit, and one count of bribery. Hollnagel has remained free on a $1.7 million secured bond since he was arrested last March on one count of wire fraud in connection with the commercial bribery scheme alone.

BCI Aircraft Leasing, Inc., which buys, sells and leases commercial airplanes and operated first in Naperville and later Chicago, was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of obstructing the SEC lawsuit, and one count of bribery.

A corporation may be indicted for alleged illegal behavior, even though technically it is not a “person.” The law is clear that a corporation may be held accountable for alleged illegal acts, in addition to those individuals running the company.

Several others were indicted as well, including: Craig Papayanis, 49, of Moorpark, Calif., who held various positions at BCI, including managing director and chief financial officer, who was charged with six counts of wire fraud; Jason R. Hyatt, 37, of Winfield, Ill., an owner of Hyatt Johnson Capital, LLC., an investment company that offered and sold to its customers investments totaling more than $20 million in BCI aircraft financing deals; two counts of wire fraud and one count of obstructing the SEC lawsuit; William Hatamyar, 55, of Edmond, Okla., president of AirBanker, a division of Chicago-based Bridgeview Bank Group, where he acted as the loan officer on bank loans and a credit line to BCI totaling more than $30 million; two counts of wire fraud, and one count each of false statements to a financial institution and bribery; Jeffrey Meyer, 52, formerly of suburban Lake Zurich, who was BCI’s controller from 2003 to 2006; two counts of wire fraud; Martin Collier, 64, of Chicago and Woodland Hills, Calif., who was the chief financial officer, among other positions, at BCI; two counts of wire fraud and one count each of obstructing the SEC lawsuit and perjury; and Robert Carlsson, 41, of Chicago, a licensed securities broker who raised money for BCI from outside investors; At various times, he was a managing director for BCI, was chief executive officer of BCI Capital Management, and owned 21 Capital Group, Inc., a registered securities broker-dealer; two counts of obstructing two separate SEC examinations of him and his company, 21 Capital Group.

According to the indictment, beginning no later than early 2000 and continuing through at least early 2009, Hollnagel, BCI, Papayanis, Hyatt, Hatamyar, Meyer, Collier, and others allegedly fraudulently obtained and retained financing and other funds for BCI and enriched themselves to the detriment of investors, lenders and others. It is also alleged that the individuals concealed the scheme by providing false testimony and information in connection with the SEC’s lawsuit, misleading and attempting to mislead BCI’s investors and independent auditors, and creating phony accounting records.

If these individuals proceed with a trial, the government does not have to prove every crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Legally, as the long as the government can convince a jury of one of the crimes, the individual(s) will be found guilty. Unfortunately at sentencing, the judge will be able to consider every bad act, which includes the alleged crimes that the individual was not found guilty of, when determining the length of the sentence. Meaning, even though the individual was not found guilty of those alleged crimes in a court of law, the judge may still consider those when determining the sentence. Such practice is extremely unfair to the individual, since they were not found guilty by a jury, however, it is legal and it occurs every day in federal sentencing.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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