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Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Big Game Hunting Guide Pleads Guilty to Felony Conspiracy Charge in Connection with Colorado Outfitter’s Illegal Mountain Lion and Bobcat Hunting Activities
Nicholaus J. Rodgers, 31, of Shady Cove, Oregon, pleaded guilty in federal court in Denver to a felony conspiracy charge stemming from the assistance he provided to an outfitter who sold illegal mountain lion and bobcat hunts in Colorado and Utah, the Justice Department announced.
Rodgers pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act.
The Lacey Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly transport or sell in interstate commerce any wildlife that has been taken or possessed in violation of state laws or regulations.
According to an indictment returned by the grand jury for the District of Colorado on Jan. 7, 2014, and the plea agreement, Rodgers conspired with others to provide numerous illegal hunts of mountain lions and bobcats in Colorado and Utah from 2007 to 2009.
In particular, Rodgers and his confederates trapped, shot and caged mountain lions and bobcats prior to hunts in order to provide easier chases of the cats for clients.
Rodgers also admits that he and his partners guided several hunters that did not possess a Utah mountain lion or bobcat license on mountain lion or bobcat hunts in Utah.
The outfitter for whom Rodgers guided, Christopher W. Loncarich, was also indicted on Jan. 7, 2014.
Loncarich is based in Mack, Colorado, which is approximately five miles from the Utah-Colorado border.
Loncarich sold mountain lion hunts for between $3,500 and $7,500 and bobcat hunts for between $700 and $1,500 and shared a portion of the proceeds from successful hunts with Rodgers.
Three of Loncarich’s assistant guides have previously pleaded guilty to Lacey Act violations in connection with their guiding activities with Loncarich.
The maximum penalty for conspiring to violate the Lacey Act is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, the prosecution agreed to a sentencing calculation pursuant to the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines but did not agree on a term of imprisonment, an amount of fines or an amount of restitution.
A sentencing hearing for Rodgers is set for Nov. 7, 2014.
The case was investigated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
The case is being prosecuted by the Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
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Environment and Natural Resources Division
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Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Detroit Area Tax Return Preparers
Quick Money Tax & Loan Center Allegedly Claimed Fraudulent Credits and Deductions on Tax Returns
The Justice Department announced today that it has asked a federal court in Detroit to permanently bar Brandon Lee and Tamika Lee, a husband and wife who do business as Quick Money Tax & Loan Center, from preparing federal tax returns. The civil injunction suit alleges that the Lees falsify income on customers’ tax returns in order to claim false and inflated earned income tax credits (EITC).
The EITC is a refundable credit available to people who work and earn less than $51,567 per year. The maximum credit in 2010 was $5,666. Due to the method used to calculate the EITC, some people are entitled to a larger credit with a higher annual income. Some tax preparers refer to the range of earned income generating a maximum EITC as the “sweet spot.” According to the complaint, the Lees reported fabricated “Household Help” income and reported fake business income and expenses on their customers’ tax returns to report income in the EITC sweet spot on some returns they prepared. The complaint alleges that 99 percent of the returns identified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as having been prepared by the Lees and their business in 2010 and 2011 claimed a refund, which is an extremely high rate.
The complaint also alleges that the Lees prepare returns for customers that falsely claim education credits, even though the customers did not attend school or have qualifying education-related expenses, and were thus ineligible for the credit.
on their website
for choosing a tax preparer. In the past decade, the Tax Division has obtained injunctions against hundreds of unscrupulous tax preparers. Information about these cases is available on the Justice Department
Tax Division with details
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