In a recent development, an Agoura Hills property developer has been sentenced to nearly 3½ years in prison for multiple offenses, including lying on a bankruptcy petition and filing false federal tax returns. Mark Handel, 69, failed to disclose on his bankruptcy petition that he had earned a substantial income and neglected to report millions of dollars in income on his tax returns. As a result, he has been sentenced to federal prison, fined, and ordered to forfeit proceeds from the sale of real estate. Handel’s crimes displayed a calculated and brazen disregard for the law, according to prosecutors. This case highlights the consequences that individuals face when engaging in fraudulent financial activities.
In a recent case, an Agoura Hills property developer has been sentenced to nearly 3½ years in prison for lying on a bankruptcy petition and filing false federal tax returns. The defendant, Mark Handel, 69, failed to disclose a significant amount of income on his bankruptcy petition and tax returns, resulting in multiple charges and a plea agreement. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the case, including details of the sentencing, charges, and plea agreement.
Mark Handel, an Agoura Hills property developer, has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for lying on a bankruptcy petition and filing false federal tax returns. Handel failed to disclose approximately $2.3 million in income on his bankruptcy petition and failed to report nearly $6.9 million in income on his tax returns. As a result, he pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in bankruptcy and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.
Handel filed a bankruptcy petition in Los Angeles in which he claimed under penalty of perjury that he had no income from 2013 until April 2015. However, it was later discovered that he earned approximately $2.3 million in income through his real estate development company, DTMM Construction Inc. To further conceal his income from the bankruptcy court and creditors, Handel registered DTMM in his wife’s name but used the company to deposit his own profits and fund his family’s living expenses. Handel also hid assets, including real estate in Livermore, California, which was later sold for approximately $3.5 million.
Mark Handel was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. In addition to the prison term, Handel was fined $20,000 and ordered to forfeit approximately $3.5 million, representing the proceeds from the sale of the hidden real estate. Judge Wright also ordered Handel to pay the IRS approximately $1.6 million in outstanding tax liabilities, penalties, and interest.
Handel pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in bankruptcy and one count of subscribing to a false tax return. These charges were based on his failure to disclose income on his bankruptcy petition and his underreporting of income on his tax returns.
Prior to the sentencing, Handel entered into a plea agreement in which he agreed to pay the IRS approximately $1.6 million in outstanding tax liabilities, penalties, and interest. This payment was made as part of his plea agreement and demonstrated his acknowledgment of the false statements and tax fraud.
Mark Handel made a false statement in his bankruptcy petition when he claimed that he had no income from 2013 until April 2015. This false statement was made under penalty of perjury and was intended to conceal his significant income from the bankruptcy court and creditors.
Concealment of Income
Handel concealed his income by registering his real estate development company, DTMM Construction Inc., in his wife’s name but using the company to deposit his own profits. He also used the company to pay for his and his family’s living expenses, further concealing the true nature and amount of his income.
Assets Hidden from Creditors
Among the assets that Handel hid from his creditors was his interest in real estate in Livermore, California. This property, which was later sold for approximately $3.5 million, was not disclosed on his bankruptcy petition and was intended to be kept hidden from his creditors.
False Tax Returns
Failure to Disclose Income
Handel failed to disclose a significant amount of income on his federal tax returns. For the tax years 2010 to 2017, he failed to report approximately $6.9 million in income, resulting in a substantial underreporting of his true earnings.
In addition to failing to disclose income, Handel also underreported his earnings on his tax returns. He falsely reported a net operating loss of $7,259,119 on his 2017 federal income tax return and underreported his income on his 2018 tax return by $1,411,050. These actions further contributed to his fraudulent conduct.
Additional Tax Liability
As a result of his false tax returns and underreporting of income, Handel had an outstanding tax liability of approximately $1.6 million. This amount includes penalties and interest that he was ordered to pay as part of his plea agreement and sentencing.
According to the prosecution’s argument, Handel’s crimes were not impulsive or done out of desperation. Instead, they were the result of deliberate planning and calculation. Handel systematically concealed his income, registered his company in his wife’s name, and used fraudulent tactics to avoid disclosing his true financial situation.
Handel’s conduct was characterized by its brazenness. He openly bragged to others that his company stood for “Don’t Touch My Money,” indicating a belief that he was above the law and could act with impunity. This brazenness further demonstrates the premeditated and deliberate nature of his crimes.
Belief of Being Above the Law
Prosecutors argued that Handel’s actions were driven by an almost insatiable drive to break the law and a belief that he was immune to its consequences. Handel’s repeated violations of the law, combined with his arrogant attitude, showcase a mindset in which he believed himself to be above the law.
IRS Criminal Investigation
The case against Mark Handel was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation division. This division focuses on investigating financial crimes, including tax evasion and fraud. Their involvement in this case highlights the serious nature of Handel’s offenses and the significant impact they had on the tax system.
The FBI also played a role in the investigation of Mark Handel’s case. The involvement of the FBI signifies the complexity and severity of the crimes committed by Handel. This multi-agency collaboration demonstrates the government’s commitment to combating financial crimes and ensuring the integrity of the justice system.
Office of the United States Trustee
The Office of the United States Trustee provided assistance in the investigation of Mark Handel’s case. This office is responsible for overseeing bankruptcy proceedings and ensuring compliance with bankruptcy laws. Their involvement in this case indicates the importance of accurately disclosing financial information in bankruptcy petitions.
Assistant United States Attorney
The prosecution of Mark Handel’s case was led by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas F. Rybarczyk of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section. Assistant United States Attorneys play a crucial role in bringing cases to trial and seeking justice on behalf of the government and its citizens.
Mark Handel has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison. This prison term reflects the severity of his crimes and serves as a deterrent to others who may consider engaging in similar fraudulent activities. Handel will be required to serve this sentence in its entirety, with no possibility of early release.
In addition to the prison term, Handel was fined $20,000. This financial penalty further reinforces the consequences of his actions and serves as a deterrent against future criminal behavior.
As part of his sentencing, Handel was ordered to forfeit approximately $3.5 million, representing the proceeds from the sale of the hidden real estate. This forfeiture demonstrates the government’s commitment to recouping ill-gotten gains and depriving criminals of their illicit profits.
Outstanding Tax Liabilities
Mark Handel was ordered to pay approximately $1.6 million in outstanding tax liabilities, penalties, and interest to the IRS. This payment is meant to compensate for the tax losses incurred as a result of Handel’s fraudulent conduct and ensures that he is held accountable for his actions.
Public Information Officer
For more information about Mark Handel’s case or for media inquiries, please contact Ciaran McEvoy, Public Information Officer at email@example.com or (213) 894-4465. Mr. McEvoy can provide additional details and updates regarding the sentencing and investigation.
For the most up-to-date information on Mark Handel’s case, please refer to the official website of the United States Department of Justice. The website contains official press releases, statements, and other relevant information related to this case.
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(Press Release Source: U.S. Department of Justice)