A dentist who owned a company that specialized in financial planning and aggressive tax management for medical professionals was found guilty of two felony counts of filing false tax returns after he claimed a charitable deduction for donating $800,000 in stock to his own nonprofit foundation.

Lewis Donald Guess, 67, of Coronado, Calif., was the former president of xélan, Inc., and also controlled the xélan Foundation, which purported to be a public charity.

After a week-long trial, U.S District Court Judge Jeffrey T. Miller found that Guess filed false and fraudulent U.S. individual income tax returns for 2001 and 2002 by falsely claiming that he donated $800,000 worth of stock to the xélan Foundation. However, according to the guilty verdicts, the transaction was “illusory” and Guess operated a “shell game” where he “reaped the profits.”

“Dr. Guess, a medical professional who had full control of a nonprofit charitable entity, undermined the integrity of our U.S. tax system by falsely claiming a $800,000 donation in stock to an entity that he also fully controlled,” said Leslie P. DeMarco, special agent in charge for IRS-Criminal Investigation in the Los Angeles Field Office. “Today's guilty verdict demonstrates to all honest taxpayers that they should not have to assume the burden for those individuals who intentionally file false tax returns and cheat the government.”

Judge Miller set a sentencing date for Sept. 16, 2010. Guess faces up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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