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Buffalo man pleads guilty to tax evasion; owes over $1M to IRS

STAFF REPORTS


Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Dorian Wills, 52, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to tax evasion before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

According to documents and information provided to the court, between April 2010 and October 2013, the defendant operated a debt collection business under various names, including Heritage Capital Services LLC; Performance Payment Processing LLC; Performance Payment Service LLC; Pinnacle Payment Service LLC; and Velocity Payment Solutions LLC. Wills resided in the Western District of New York but spent significant time in Cleveland, Ohio, and Atlanta, Georgia, where the debt collection companies were located. From approximately November 2010 through approximately October 2013, the defendant operated a business called Freestar World LLC, through which he did work for the debt collection companies.

The debt collection companies engaged in illegal debt collection practices such as making threatening and harassing phone calls, and collecting on debt that did not exist or debt to which the debt collection companies did not have title. To avoid detection by state and federal law enforcement authorities, Wills solicited two individuals to assist him with his businesses.

The defendant had these individuals incorporate several debt collection companies in Georgia and Ohio, open dozens of bank accounts in the names of the debt collection companies, and submit applications for merchant accounts in the names of the debt collection companies.

Between 2010 and 2013, none of the debt collection companies filed a tax return. In addition, Wills failed to file his 2011 and 2013 personal income tax returns, despite some of the debt collection companies earning approximately $4,000,000 in gross receipts.

For the tax year 2012, the defendant filed a personal income tax return but the return did not include income information from any businesses, some of which earned nearly $5,000,000 in gross receipts in 2012, except for Freestar.

As a result of unreported income and the unpaid 2012 taxes, the defendant owes $1,209,537.88 in federal income taxes for tax years 2011 through 2013.

Previously, Wills and the debt collection companies were the subject of a civil investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, with the defendant and the FTC stipulating to a final order for permanent injunction on August 8, 2014.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford scheduled sentencing for Aug. 23, 2018.  Wills faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison.  He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Kennedy thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, AUSA Marie P. Grisanti, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Jason M. Scheff and Thomas F. Koelbl, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.