Southern District of Texas | Personal injury attorney convicted of obstructing justice
HOUSTON – A 56-calendar year-outdated Houston resident has been observed responsible on a number of counts related to a difficult tax fraud scheme, declared U.S. Legal professional Alamdar S. Hamdani.
A federal jury convicted Richard J. Plezia for conspiracy as perfectly as two counts of creating wrong statements and falsification of a file subsequent a thirty day period-prolonged trial and somewhere around 8 hrs of deliberation.
“We are a country of laws, the place attorneys swear to uphold people laws” said Hamdani. “When attorneys, like Plezia, corrupt their oath for their very own obtain, this kind of steps can corrode the public’s confidence in our lawful technique. It is critical to discourage these perform, and we are delighted with the jury’s verdict holding Plezia accountable for his crimes.”
“I can inform you that justice was served and the professionalism of our special brokers from the start out of the scenario to the testimony all through the trial is a testament to the exceptional do the job IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI) does to bring conspiracies like this to finality,” explained Special Agent-in-Charge Ramsey E. Covington of IRS-CI’s Houston Field Office. “We are below to serve our local community by doing the job with the United States Attorney’s Business to deliver legal functions, precisely those with tax and monetary ties, to an conclusion.”
The proof comprehensive a complex tax fraud scheme in which Plezia funneled roughly $500,000 through his small business account from legal professional Jeffrey Stern. The revenue was specified to scenario runner Marcus Esquivel, from whom Stern was illegally acquiring personal personal injury scenarios.
Separately, Plezia himself was illegally obtaining cases from Esquivel and another case runner. On his tax returns, Stern took unlawful tax deductions for his payments to a variety of runners such as Esquivel. This caused close to $4.3 million in tax decline to the IRS. Plezia filed phony returns, improperly proclaiming the pass-via payments from Stern by Plezia to Esquivel as revenue and having corresponding incorrect deductions for advertising and advertising.
In 2016, Plezia lied to authorities, proclaiming he experienced not paid Esquivel for scenario referrals. Two several years afterwards, he yet again lied. He claimed the roughly three several years of move-via payments were being the consequence of Stern funding a massive poisonous tort case Plezia was managing. To back again up his fake tale about the money flow, Plezia created falsified files in response to a federal grand jury subpoena. These incorporated an alleged 2010 letter from Plezia to Stern proposing the funding arrangement and invoices allegedly from Esquivel that purported to monthly bill Plezia for products and services on the tort case.
Equally Stern and Esquivel beforehand pleaded responsible and delivered testimony that the payments by means of Plezia had nothing at all to do with the tort situation. The jury listened to corroborating evidence from a number of attorneys and health care vendors who had been concerned in the subject.
U.S. District Decide Lee H. Rosenthal presided over the trial and established sentencing for May possibly 31. At that time, Plezia faces up to 20 a long time for the falsification of records and 5 many years on each individual of the other convictions.
Plezia was permitted to continue being on bond pending that hearing.
Stern and Esquivel, both of Houston, are also pending sentencing.
IRS-CI done the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert S. Johnson and Richard Bennett are prosecuting the situation.