OAKLAND – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced Sharon Lee Caulder was convicted of two counts of bankruptcy fraud and five counts of failure to file income tax returns by a federal jury today. The jury, after deliberating for approximately 3½ hours, found that defendant Caulder had intentionally concealed the existence of two bank accounts with a balance of more than $68,000 on her bankruptcy petition filed in California in 1998 and that she had willfully failed to file income tax returns from 1998-2002, a period during which she had received over $1.7 million in gross income. The guilty verdict followed a one-week jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Claudia Wilken.
Defendant Caulder, 61, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 14, 2005. She was charged with concealing assets on her bankruptcy petition filed in 1998 and willfully failing to file income tax returns in 1998-2002.
The United States proved that defendant Caulder received over $1.7 million in gross income for providing alternative healing services and from royalties for her book Mark of Voodoo. Defendant Caulder received $138,968 in 1998; $830,391 in 1999; $247,677 in 2000; $300,000 in 2001; and $188,992 in 2002.
The sentencing of defendant Caulder is scheduled for February 27, 2006 before Judge Wilken in Oakland. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 142(1) – Concealment of assets in a bankruptcy proceeding is 5 years and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203 – Willful failure to file tax return is 1 year and a fine of $100,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Merry Jean Chan and Lewis A. Davis are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of legal technicians Cynthia Daniel and Kathleen Glynn, and paralegal Patty Lau. The prosecution is the culmination of a two-year investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS – Criminal Investigations.
Case #: CR 04-40016 CW
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
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