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Daily Court Reporter - News Former Parma insurance salesman sentenced to more than three years in prison for tax fraud

 

Former Parma insurance salesman sentenced to more than three years in prison for tax fraud

A former Parma insurance salesman was sentenced to more than three years in prison for failing to file income tax returns and failing to pay taxes, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja for the Northern District of Ohio.

According to documents and information provided to the court, John Christopher Raschella, 57, now of Estero, Florida, failed to pay more than $1 million in income taxes, interest and penalties that he owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for 1995, 1996, and 1998 through 2012. During those years, Raschella sold insurance, and earned additional income working for other insurance salesmen.

Between 1989 and 2012, Raschella failed to timely file income tax returns with the IRS. For several years, Raschella filed delinquent returns, reporting that he owed taxes, but failed to make the required payments. For other years, the IRS assessed Raschella’s taxes and sent him letters notifying him of the amount he owed, but Raschella still did not pay.

Raschella used a series of nominee entities to prevent the IRS from collecting his unpaid taxes. For example, Raschella formed two companies, Resource One, Corporation and Legacy Foundation International and deposited his insurance commissions into bank accounts that he opened in their names. He assigned his insurance commissions to Resource One and as a result, the company reported to the IRS that the income had been paid to the company instead of to Raschella individually. The insurance company revoked the assignment after learning that Raschella had concealed from a county government agency the fact that Resource One was his company. Raschella also caused a phony levy release to be sent to the insurance company that purported to be issued by the IRS. In response, the insurance company substantially reduced the amount of Raschella’s insurance commissions that it paid over to the IRS in response to the levy.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, Raschella was ordered to serve one year of supervised release and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $573,157.13.

“For more than two decades, John Raschella tried to thwart the IRS’s ability to assess and collect the taxes he owed,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg. “Everyone has a legal obligation to pay their fair share and today’s sentence makes clear that those who willfully violate this duty face significant consequences including prosecution and jail.”

“Failing to file or pay taxes due are abuses of the federal tax system that affect us all,” said Chief Don Fort of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI). “Today’s sentencing reaffirms that if you participate in these types of abusive tax schemes, you may go to jail. The American tax system is designed to provide vital government services to our people. It is not a pick-and-choose yearly decision as to whether you will obey the law and pay your owed taxes. IRS-CI and the Department of Justice will remain vigilant in ferreting out such schemes that cheat both the federal government and honest taxpayers.”

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Sierleja thanked special agents of IRS-CI, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind and Jeffrey A. McLellan of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case. They also thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Patton of the Northern District of Ohio, who provided substantial assistance in this prosecution.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Date Published: July 21, 2017

 

The United States Department of Justice for the Northern District of Ohio

 

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