Former Campaign Manager Charged with Embezzlement, Tax Evasion, and Other Offenses
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 04, 2009|
Nora R. Dannehy, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a 12-count indictment charging MICHAEL IAN SOHN, 34, of Fairfield, with embezzling campaign funds, causing the filing of false campaign reports, and federal tax offenses. The indictment was returned on December 2, and SOHN was arrested this morning. He is scheduled to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons at 11:30 a.m.
The indictment alleges that SOHN was employed as the campaign manager for the Shays Campaign Committee from January 2003 through December 2008, and also was employed by the United States House of Representatives from January 2003 through May 2008. From 2005 to 2008, SOHN is alleged to have embezzled money from the Campaign in each of the four years, totaling approximately $252,424. It is alleged that SOHN embezzled money from the Campaign by writing himself checks and using the Campaign’s ATM/debit card to withdraw cash and make debit card purchases.
The indictment further alleges that SOHN caused the Shays Campaign Committee treasurer to file four false reports with the Federal Election Commission in 2008 in that the reports did not accurately report at four times in 2008 the Campaign’s actual expenditures and cash on hand. The FEC reports did not report the Campaign’s expenditure of the money SOHN embezzled and over reported the Campaign’s cash on hand.
Finally, the indictment charges SOHN with failing to file a federal income tax return in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and evading the payment of taxes in 2008 by not reporting approximately $88,000 in income on his tax return in that year, resulting in a tax loss to the Government of approximately $37,000 in 2008.
SOHN is charged with four counts of illegally converting campaign contributions to his personal use. If convicted of these charges, SOHN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million. SOHN also is charged with four counts of making false statements. If convicted on these counts, he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million. Finally, SOHN is charged with three counts of failing to file federal income tax returns and one count of tax evasion. If convicted on these counts, SOHN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of eight years, a fine of up to $550,000, and the costs of prosecution on the tax offenses.
U.S. Attorney Dannehy stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter S. Jongbloed.