Source: United States Department of Justice
A Nevada man was sentenced today to three years in prison for willfully aiding and assisting the filing of false tax returns, in connection with a scheme to sell purported investment opportunities to clients that he falsely claimed would entitle them to IRS tax deductions.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Lance K. Bradford, of Henderson, was a certified public accountant and founder and manager of LL Bradford & Company (LLB). LLB performed accounting-related work, including tax preparation, audit and consulting services. Bradford also operated a real estate business that developed office buildings and other real property. In connection with Bradford’s real estate development activities, he operated and controlled a real estate investment partnership entity.
In 2011, Bradford began offering LLB’s high-net-worth clients an “investment opportunity” through which the clients would make a payment to his partnership entity and, in exchange, receive a large tax deduction of approximately five to seven times the amount of money the client “invested.” Bradford advised that the clients’ payments would entitle them to claim the large tax deduction based on losses derived from the partnership entity, even though he knew the tax laws did not permit the sale of such deductions in exchange for an investment of money, and the partnership did not incur the losses or depreciation in the amounts represented by Bradford. Bradford also did not report the purported investments as losses on the clients’ tax returns as promised. Instead, he caused the clients’ returns to report large false deductions for cost of goods sold, professional and consulting fees or nonpassive losses. In total, Bradford’s scheme caused a tax loss to the IRS of at least $8 million.
As one example from his investment scheme, in 2014, Bradford asked a client to make a $417,780 “investment” to his partnership entity in exchange for purported depreciation-based losses to be placed on his client’s 2013 corporate tax return (Form 1120S). But instead of reporting depreciation related to the investment, Bradford caused LLB to prepare and file a Form 1120S that falsely inflated the company’s cost of goods sold by $2,110,000, causing a tax loss to the IRS of approximately $860,627.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge Gloria M. Navarro ordered Bradford to serve one year of supervised release and pay $6,734,338 in restitution to the United States.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada made the announcement.
IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case, with assistance from the FBI.
Trial Attorney Patrick Burns of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the District of Nevada prosecuted the case.