Steven Charles Laubly, 62, Clovis, California, was convicted of three counts of failing to file a tax return and one count of tax evasion. The defendant evaded payment of those taxes by, among other things, purchasing property in Hawaii under another person’s name. The guilty verdict was returned by a federal court jury in Fresno, California, after a five-day trial before United States District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill. Laubly was taken into custody after the verdict was read.
According to testimony presented at trial, in 2004 – 2006, Laubly ran a successful real estate brokerage business in Clovis called Sundance Real Estate. Despite having a total gross income of $557,832 for those years, he did not file federal income tax returns. In fact, the evidence showed that Laubly had only filed a tax return once in his life, in 1968. The evidence also showed that after back taxes were assessed against him for 2001, he evaded payment of those taxes by purchasing property in Hawaii under another person’s name, making false statements to the IRS about the sales price of his business, and attempting to hide money from the IRS in bank accounts in Costa Rica.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the conviction.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark J. McKeon and Michele Thielhorn are prosecuting the case.
Laubly is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge O’Neill on May 29, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. The maximum statutory penalty for attempt to evade taxes is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for willful failure to file a return is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.