Steven Carlson, 52, Jamestown, New York, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to evading the payment of taxes and mortgage fraud. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 35 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both.
According to court documents, the defendant has a long history in the restaurant business. Carlson evaded the payment of his federal taxes from 2001 to 2008 by putting businesses and properties in names other than his own, thereby hiding assets that the government could use to satisfy the taxes owed. Included in this scheme are properties in Florida, one of which involved a multi-million-dollar loan. Carlson was a guarantor of the loan and was required to provide proof of income to the bank. The supporting documents included falsified tax returns, false financial statements, and a false Social Security number. The loan has since failed and the loss is at least $600,000.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 5, 2011, at 12:30 p.m. EST, in Buffalo, N.Y., in front of Judge Arcara.
U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced the guilty plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gretchen L. Wylegala is prosecuting the case.
The plea is the culmination of an investigation on the part of special agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigative Division, under the direction of Charles R. Pine, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office, and special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Buffalo, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James H. Robertson.
This law enforcement action is part of President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.