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Las Vegas man sentenced for $28M tax fraud scheme

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Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-24 14:49:45-04

A Las Vegas businessman who pleaded guilty to committing a $28 million tax fraud conspiracy was sentenced today to three years in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Tara Sullivan for the IRS-Criminal Investigation.

Ramon Desage, 69, was charged by a second superseding indictment on Feb. 11, 2014. On Aug. 31, 2018, Desage pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States as charged in the second superseding indictment.

Today, in addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey ordered Desage to pay $28,221,767 in restitution to the IRS and sentenced him to three years of supervised release upon his release from prison.

Desage admitted as part of his plea that, from about Jan. 1, 2006, through about Oct. 20, 2010, he conspired with his bookkeeper, co-defendant Gary Parkinson, and tax preparer, co-defendant Peter Akaragian, to cause fraudulent federal income tax returns to be filed for himself and his entities for tax years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

According to court documents, Desage omitted tens of millions of dollars in income from his returns and created false business deductions to further avoid paying his income taxes. The false deductions that Desage and his co-conspirators claimed in the returns reclassified personal expenses as business expenses. Thus, they claimed fraudulent deductions for luxury car purchases, houses, jewelry, repayment of millions in gambling debts, private plane air travel, home improvements, and lavish gifts for Desage’s girlfriends and acquaintances. Desage’s outstanding tax due was approximately $28.2 million for tax years 2006 through 2009.

Akaragian pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October 2018, and Parkinson is scheduled to begin a jury trial in January 2020. The charges against Parkinson merely are allegations and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Burns prosecuted the case.