A married couple from Iowa and a Nevada accountant have been charged with conspiring to defraud the IRS of over $700,000 through a scheme in which they allegedly used nominee corporations and nominee bank accounts to hide their income and other assets.

Darlene Taylor McCord and James Bert McCord, of Iowa City, Iowa, and Wendell Leroy Waite, of Las Vegas, were charged last week with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada Daniel G. Bogden, along with other tax-related charges.

According to the indictment, the McCords owned several Nevada corporations, TOB Management Inc., Que 1 Inc., and HTR Group Inc. Waite was a licensed CPA in Nevada, California and Utah, who resided and worked in Nevada.

On June 23, 2003, the McCords allegedly owed the IRS approximately $197,420 in personal income taxes, and owed an additional IRS Trust Fund Recovery Penalty of approximately $547,788. From approximately May 2004 through February 2008, the McCords received personal income of over $2.7 million.  Waite was associated with the Asset Protection Group Inc., whose primary function was to offer services to individuals who were trying to hide their assets from creditors, including the IRS, through the use of nominee corporations, nominee bank checking accounts, and “friendly liens” designed to create the illusion that a person’s assets were encumbered by liens. 

Beginning in about November 2004, the McCords deposited about $2.7 million into an APG bank escrow account and/or into one of their corporate accounts, allegedly for the purpose of hiding the money from the IRS. In about February 2005, APG allegedly referred the McCords to Waite for accounting and tax purposes and over the next two years, Waite filed multiple fraudulent federal tax returns for the McCord’s and their nominee corporations concealing their true income and assets.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Waite was also charged with one count of income tax evasion and four counts of aiding in the preparation and filing of false and fraudulent federal tax returns. The McCords were also charged with four counts of making and subscribing false and fraudulent federal individual and corporate tax returns, one count of making a false financial condition statement, and nine counts of attempting to evade or defeat the payment of their federal taxes, penalties and interest. 

They are scheduled to make their initial appearances before a federal magistrate judge in Las Vegas on Thursday. If convicted, they face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the conspiracy and tax evasion charges, and up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the false or fraudulent tax return charges.

The McCords also founded an Iowa company called McCord Research, which specialized in treating wounded skin, along with a related company called Pinnaclife that distributed health care and nutrition supplements, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Darlene McCord is a biochemistry researcher and her husband worked as director of business development at their research company. They pledged $2.3 million in 2008 to the University of Iowa, where James McCord studied, for wound healing and aging research, and $1 million in 2010 to renovate the university’s football stadium.

The case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Gregory Damm.

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