A former trader for Chevron Oil was recently sentenced in a Houston federal court for filing a false tax return. The man had faced up to 20 years in prison for his involvement in what prosecutors claimed was a kickback scheme related to his work as a trader. Learn more about this case below, and contact a seasoned Dallas IRS defense attorney with any questions.
Shawn Potts is a former trader for Chevron Oil. According to a federal indictment, Potts and a co-conspirator, Robert Stanley Corbitt, operated what amounted to a bribery scheme from 2004 to 2012 while working for Chevron. Federal prosecutors claimed that Potts would favor trading partners and oil producers who agreed to pay kickbacks in exchange for those trades.
The men were alleged to have used offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands and Switzerland to receive these kickback payments. Corbitt, in whose name the Cayman Island account was held, would funnel these kickback payments to Potts. Alternately, the men would submit false invoices, making the kickback payments appear to be legitimate payment for services rendered, or they would have funds from these accounts paid directly to vendors or car dealers on their behalves.
The case was investigated by the IRS’ Criminal Division, alongside the United States Postal Inspection Service. Potts was indicted in April 2016 for his involvement in the kickback scheme and was arrested in Houston in April 2016. A representative from the IRS discussed the charges against the men when the indictment was filed, noting that the case was representative of an increased effort to pursue tax evasion facilitated by offshore accounts. “Hiding income and assets offshore whether obtained legally or illegally is against the law,” explained Rick Goss, the head of the IRS’ Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI). “IRS-CI has stepped up its efforts in the international financial arena and has become a trusted leader in pursuit of those who use hidden offshore accounts and companies to circumvent the law.”
Potts was initially charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, along with a charge of filing a false tax return. If convicted of all three charges, Potts could have faced up to 20 years in federal prison. In January 2018, Potts agreed to plead guilty to filing a false tax return in exchange for prosecutors to drop the wire fraud and money laundering charges. Potts could have faced up to three years in prison for this charge. He was recently sentenced by a federal judge to serve three years’ probation, with the initial 18 months of this time to be spent on house arrest.
If you’re facing claims by the IRS of filing a false tax return or failing to pay income taxes, ensure that your rights are protected by the dedicated, professional, and effective tax defense attorneys at the Scammahorn Law Firm. Contact the Scammahorn Law Firm today for a confidential consultation in Tyler at 903-595-1000, or Dallas at 214-377-2875. The Scammahorn Law Firm also offers consultations via telephone to accommodate all who are facing issues with the IRS.