A federal jury found an El Dorado Hills man guilty of tax evasion of nearly $450,000 Thursday.
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Donald M. Wanland Jr., 53, an attorney in Sacramento, was found guilty of 28 tax-related criminal charges, “including attempting to evade personal income taxes for the tax years 2000 through 2003, failing to file tax returns for 2005 through 2007 and multiple counts of removing, depositing and concealing assets from the IRS in defiance of a levy,” a press release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner stated. After the verdict, Wanland was immediately remanded into the custody of U.S. Marshals.
“Tax evasion is a serious crime, and it is particularly serious when attorneys engage in it. Those who willfully evade their responsibility to pay taxes should know that they can face years in prison,” Wagner noted.
For those that cheat on their taxes, the conviction sends a clear message, said Special Agent in Charge Jose M. Martinez of the IRS Criminal Investigation branch. “Mr. Wanland concealed assets and made false statements to the IRS. Rather than paying his taxes, he paid for a weekend at a ski resort, made payments toward a Mercedes Benz and a paid for expenses related to a pool at his El Dorado Hills home. In today’s economic environment, it is more important than ever that the American people feel confident that everyone is playing by the rules and paying the taxes they owe,” he stated.
Wanland, a “financially successful” attorney, evaded taxes for years. His returns for 2000 to 2003 showed a gross income of more than $1.5 million, for which he admitted owing taxes of $448,451. He paid nothing. He concealed bank accounts he used to receive and spend income when the IRS attempted to collect the taxes, and filed no returns from 2004 to 2007. In April 2005, when the IRS placed levies on his income, he defied the levies repeatedly by funneling money into the concealed nominee accounts.
Instead of paying taxes, he spent $2,700 on a weekend at Squaw Valley Ski Resort, making payments on a Mercedes Benz and Cadillac Escalade, gambling in Las Vegas, vacations to Hawaii and Mexico, utilizing limousine services and putting in a pool at his El Dorado Hills home. He withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and made checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars from the concealed accounts.
Wanland was first indicted on Jan. 8, 2009 for evading taxes from 2000 to 2003, though records showed his tax problems stemmed from a decade earlier — he only paid part or failed to pay taxes for multiple years in the 1990s. In January 2012, a superseding indictment added charges for 2005 to 2007 and charges for defying tax levies.
The maximum penalty Wanland faces is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for tax evasion. For removing, depositing and concealing assets in defiance of an IRS levy, he faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Finally, the maximum statutory penalty for willful failure to file tax returns is one year in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew D. Segal and Christopher S. Hales are prosecuting the case, a product of an IRS investigation.