Michigan Insurance Salesman Convicted of Filing False Tax Returns and Making False Statements in Bankruptcy
A Michigan man was convicted today of filing false tax returns and making false statements to both a bankruptcy court and the Department of Justice.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Donald Stanley LaVigne, formerly of Lake Orion, did not report insurance commissions and other income on tax returns he filed with the IRS for the years 2013 through 2019. In letters he sent to the IRS, LaVigne also falsely claimed that these commissions were not income to him.
When LaVigne filed for bankruptcy in 2018, he did not list the IRS as a creditor on the schedules attached to his bankruptcy petition even though he owed taxes to the IRS for the years 2008 and 2009 and 2013 through 2015. On one document he filed in the bankruptcy case, LaVigne also understated his income for the years 2016 and 2017.
Finally, LaVigne made a false statement to the Department of Justice. After he was notified that he was the target of a federal grand jury investigation, LaVigne sent a letter to the Department of Justice in which he falsely claimed that his bankruptcy attorney had reviewed his 2017 income tax return and advised him that it was “correct and complete.” In fact, his bankruptcy attorney testified that he had never advised LaVigne that his 2017 income tax return was accurate.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 1. LaVigne faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison on each of seven counts of filing false tax returns, five years in prison on each of two counts of making false statements in bankruptcy, and five years in prison for making a false statement to the Department of Justice. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.
IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind and Catriona M. Coppler of the Justice Department’s Tax Division are prosecuting the case.