The former owner of a Marina Del Rey corporation that has marketed dietary
supplements to senior citizens pleaded guilty today to conspiring to evade millions
of dollars in corporate income taxes during a scheme that overstated the
corporation’s claimed business expenses on its federal tax returns.
Almon Glenn Braswell, a 60-year-old Miami Beach resident, pleaded guilty to the
felony charge this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles. By
pleading guilty, Braswell admitted that he had participated in a scheme to
overstate the business expenses incurred by one of his companies, Gero Vita
International, Inc. Braswell was the sole shareholder of Gero Vita and a number of
affiliated corporations, including G.B. Data Systems, Inc. Although they were not
charged in the indictment, Gero Vita and G.B. Data Systems, Inc. were also parties
to the plea agreement.
In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Braswell acknowledged that his scheme
caused Gero Vita to underpay its taxes by $4,468,460. However, with penalties and
interest, Gero Vita now has an outstanding tax liability of $10,455,367. As part of
the plea agreement, Braswell has agreed to make full payment to the Internal
Revenue Service in the next three weeks.
The corporate income tax evasion was engineered through a false expense scheme.
Braswell used his ownership and control of a Bermuda corporation, Deleon Global
Trading, Ltd., to create false expenses on Gero Vita’s books and records. The
indictment alleges that the fictitious expense scheme was designed to make it
appear that Deleon had sold raw materials for nutritional supplements to Gero Vita
so that Gero Vita’s tax liabilities could be fraudulently reduced by millions of
Among other things, the indictment alleges that Gero Vita’s accountant,
defendant Robert Bruce Miller, created fictitious invoices that charged Gero Vita
for “nutritional supplements” and “health care products” that Gero Vita had
purportedly purchased from Deleon. In the plea agreement, Braswell admitted that in
fact, Deleon did not supply any products to Gero Vita, nor did it conduct any
business in Bermuda or elsewhere.
Braswell is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M.
Morrow on September 13. As part of the plea agreement, Braswell, G.B. Data and Gero
Vita agreed to cooperate with the government. If Judge Morrow accepts the
agreement, Braswell will be sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, provided that
Braswell, G.B. Data and Gero Vita have complied with their cooperation obligations.
If Judge Morrow determines that Braswell or the corporations have failed to comply
with their cooperation obligations, Braswell could be sentenced to as much as 41
months. If Judge Morrow refuses to accept the plea agreement, Braswell and the
government have the option of backing out of certain provisions in the plea
One provision of the plea agreement requires Braswell, G.B. Data Systems and Gero
Vita to waive the attorney-client privilege and to provide the government with
documents that they previously had withheld pursuant to the attorney-client
G.B. Data Systems is now known as JOL Management Company, Inc.
Braswell was indicted by a federal grand jury in late 2002. The indictment also
named Miller, a 46-year-old certified public accountant who resides in Canyon
Country, California. Because of Miller’s failing health, the government yesterday
filed a stipulation dismissing the charges against Miller without prejudice.
The indictment also named William E. Frantz, 65, of Marietta, Georgia, in five
counts. Frantz is charged with conspiring with Braswell to evade Braswell’s
personal income tax obligations. The indictment alleges that this scheme resulted
in an underpayment of Braswell’s income taxes of more than $9 million for the years
1994 through 1997. Frantz is scheduled to go on trial before Judge Morrow on April
Braswell allegedly evaded the payment of personal income taxes by transferring
millions of dollars from G.B. Data Systems to a bank account that Frantz’ law
firm maintained in Atlanta and to offshore accounts that Braswell controlled. The
indictment alleges that Frantz, who acted as Braswell’s personal tax preparer,
failed to report the diverted funds as income on Braswell’s tax returns.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.