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Las Vegas pawn shop owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

Posted at 3:23 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 18:23:28-05

Barbara Doutt Forbes, 58, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty today to one count of tax evasion, according to U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Tara Sullivan for the IRS-Criminal Investigation.

According to court documents, from 1997 to 2017, Forbes owned six pawn shops in North Dakota and South Dakota. From 2009 to 2012, she directed employees to delete gold jewelry from the stores’ electronic inventory and send that jewelry to her in Las Vegas.

Forbes then sold the gold jewelry to a refining company in Philadelphia. In exchange, the refining company wired a total of $855,116 to Forbes’ personal bank accounts. Forbes failed to report this income on her tax returns.

During an IRS audit of her tax returns, Forbes created and provided to the IRS false bank statements that omitted the wire transfers. As a result, Forbes owed $281,388 in income taxes to the United States. As part of her plea agreement, Forbes agreed to pay the full amount of owed income taxes back to the IRS.

This case was the product of an investigation by the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Mickelson is prosecuting the case.

Forbes is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jennifer A. Dorsey on May 11, 2020. Forbes faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would 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.