Home San Francisco Press Releases 2012 San Ramon Attorney Charged with Tax Evasion and Unlawfully Intercepting Communications

San Ramon Attorney Charged with Tax Evasion and Unlawfully Intercepting Communications
Used Private Investigator to Install Listening Devices

U.S. Attorney’s Office September 18, 2012
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

OAKLAND, CA—A six-count indictment was unsealed today charging San Ramon attorney Mary Nolan with tax evasion and unlawfully intercepting communications, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. Nolan, 60, was arrested today in her home in Oakland, prior to making her initial appearance in federal court.

The indictment, which was returned September 6, 2012, alleges that Nolan, the owner of The Law Offices of Mary Nolan in San Ramon, California, willfully attempted to evade and defeat a large part of her income tax due and owing by causing false tax returns to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service from 2005 through 2008. For the tax years 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, Nolan reported taxable income of -$21,395, -$12,472, -$53,934, and -$48,146, respectively, when in fact she knew her taxable income was $306,543, $410,581, $574,769 and $414,319. The unreported taxable income totaled $1,842,159, resulting in additional tax due of approximately $593,916.

The indictment further alleges that, between approximately August 9, 2007, and at least September 9, 2007, Nolan conspired to and procured another person to unlawfully intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Nolan referred clients to private investigator Christopher Butler for Butler to install concealed listening devices in the clients’ spouses or significant others’ cars. The indictment also alleges that on numerous occasions, Nolan and her staff, acting on Nolan’s instructions, accessed the listening devices to eavesdrop on conversations by Nolan’s clients’ spouses and significant others with the intent to use the intercepted information to assist Nolan’s client’s legal proceedings.

The maximum statutory penalty for tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201, is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications, in violation 18 U.S.C. § 371 is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for unlawful interception of communications, in violation 18 U.S.C. § 2511(1)(a) and (4)(a) is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Upon posting $50,000, Nolan will be released on a bond that includes $250,000 of security in the form of a deed that must be posted within two weeks. She is next scheduled to appear in federal court in Oakland on Sept. 25, 2012, for arraignment before Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu. The case is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton.

Hartley M.K. West is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rania Ghawi. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Nolan must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.