Aspen developer George Gradow, who made his money in mobile homes, was sentenced to 15 months after pleading guilty to tax fraud and obstructing an Internal Revenue Service audit.
A federal judge ordered Gradow, 66, to pay the IRS $128,000 in restitution, as well as a $5,000 fine. The multi-millionaire -- federal attorneys said that Gradow has $19.8 million in assets -- was also sentenced to a year of supervised probation.
Gradow, who is married to former Playboy playmate Barbi Benton, has a law degree and a Master's in taxation, and prosecutors portrayed him as a greedy businessman. Defense lawyers said that Gradow was suffering from depression and anxiety, diseases that spiraled out of control when the IRS began investigating his mobile-home development company, the Churchill Group.
The Churchill Group was set up to handle his investments and other financial assets. According to prosecutors, Gradow instructed the company's chief financial officer to send him the original promissory notes and real estate leases and then manipulated interest rates, due dates and lease terms to take advantage of tax benefits in 1999 and 2000.
Gradow pleaded guilty in federal court in August, admitting to destroying and altering the documents, and will report to prison June 12. He could have been sentenced to up to three years.
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