Danville Express

Newsfront - March 2, 2007

Dentist gets two years for tax fraud

Offshore bank accounts lead Danville dentist to prison

by Jordan M. Doronila

A Danville dentist was sentenced last week to two years in prison for tax evasion and fraud.

Roy Albert Lewis was sentenced by San Francisco U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston on Friday, Feb. 23.

"Tax evasion is a crime, and people who engage in it pay a steep price," said Eileen J. O'Connor, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Tax Division. "The Department of Justice and the IRS continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute taxpayers who harm the federal Treasury and all honest taxpayers."

After his prison term expires, Lewis must serve a three-year supervised release.

A jury found him guilty in August of tax evasion and conspiring to defraud the United States. Investigators from the Justice Department found in 1995 that Lewis became a client of Tower Executive Resources, an organization from Denver that promoted a tax evasion scheme involving the use of false invoices and secret offshore bank accounts.

His medical practice paid bogus expenses to Tower, aiming to generate false tax deductions, according to the Justice Department. Tower then deposited the bulk of the funds into a secret offshore bank account that Lewis controlled.

Over 10 years, Lewis sent approximately $300,000 to the bank account through the Tower system. When the Internal Revenue Service learned about the Tower scheme and audited Lewis' tax liabilities, he stopped filing income tax returns and falsely claimed that he believed the law did not require him to file returns.

Lewis' father, Leroy Albert Lewis, an oral surgeon in California, was also charged in the same indictment with fraud and tax evasion through his participation in the Tower program.

He is currently awaiting trial.

"The government will not tolerate the use of offshore accounts to illegally escape tax obligations," said John Imhoff Jr., acting IRS chief of Criminal Investigation. "Those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who don't."

Numerous other Tower clients across the country have either pled guilty or have been convicted of tax offenses.

A Denver court convicted two promoters of the Tower scheme, Paul D. Harris and Lester R. Retherford, in April 2005. Robert N. Bedford, Tower's tax expert who was involved in the company's conspiracy, was convicted in December 2006. Retherford was sentenced to 48 months in prison in December 2005, and Harris was sentenced to 66 months.

Bedford's sentencing is set for April 27.


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