Tallahassee Man Convicted of Tax Evasion
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 18, 2011|
TALLAHASSEE, FL—Lennie Fulwood, Jr., 42, of Tallahassee, was convicted today of four counts of tax evasion arising from his failure to file personal tax returns for the 2005 through 2008 tax years.
Between 2005 and 2008, Fulwood ran a music store, selling CDs and DVDs at the Tallahassee flea market. During the same period, Fulwood made cash deposits totaling more than $1.7 million, which he placed into multiple bank accounts established at five banks in Tallahassee. The majority of the cash deposits were made into accounts held solely in the name of Fulwood’s brother, even though the money deposited belonged to Fulwood himself. Fulwood used the money in the accounts to purchase $683,000 in commercial and residential properties, each of which he titled solely in his brother’s name. Having used his brother as nominee to conceal his assets, Fulwood then failed to file personal tax returns when they became due. The IRS determined that Fulwood had a taxable income of $1.1 million and owed a total of more than $300,000 in taxes. When questioned by the IRS concerning his failure to file, Fulwood claimed that he had no taxable income and that his cash deposits were attributable to “gifts from friends.” Fulwood declined to identify these friends.
At trial, the government introduced evidence that Fulwood had induced a gravely ill man, who was confined to a Kentucky nursing home, to give a video-recorded statement, in which he falsely claimed to have given Fulwood $1 million in cash over a three-year period beginning in 2002. The man had won $27 million in the Kentucky lottery 10 years earlier. When later questioned by agents and attorneys in the case, the man admitted that the videotaped statement was false. He said that Fulwood had called him repeatedly, urging him to give false testimony, and that when Fulwood’s calls did not produce the desired results, Fulwood traveled from Tallahassee to the witness’ nursing home in Kentucky, where he set up a video camera at the foot of the witness’s bed to record his false statement. In spite of the fact that the witness ultimately recanted this video statement, Fulwood testified at trial that the man had actually given him $1 million in cash between 2002 and 2005.
Fulwood faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment on each count of tax evasion. Sentencing is scheduled for November 2, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle, who presided over the trial.
United States Attorney Pamela Marsh praised the work of IRS Criminal Investigation and IRS Special Enforcement Program, whose joint investigation, with the assistance of the FBI, led to the convictions in this case.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Rhew-Miller.