A federal jury found Thomas Parenteau guilty last week of tax conspiracy, wire fraud, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. He was acquitted of two counts of money laundering.
Orange County tax fraud attorneys have been watching the Ohio case. The Parenteau tax fraud case involved millions of dollars and eleven defendants. At the center of the case, Parenteau and his wife Marsha had purchased a mansion that they used to obtain $18 million in fraudulent loans against the property.
Parenteau used some of that money to take out $20 million in life insurance policies on his father, who has since died.
Parenteau also sold seven other luxury homes at inflated prices. The buyers received kickbacks.
Mr. Parenteau's accountant, Dennis Sartain, has already been convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for tax evasion and fraud. Marsha Parenteau pled guilty to conspiracy a year ago.
Parenteau's mistress, Pamela McCarty was key to the prosecution's case:
McCarty testified that she plotted with Parenteau, his wife and his accountant to cover their crimes and commit perjury. The IRS became aware of the conspiracy when they investigated McCarty's tax return in 2005. She testified that the returns were filed to obtain fraudulent tax refunds that would then be used to support fraudulent loan applications.
Parenteau fathered two children by McCarty, but remained married to his wife and stayed in business with his wife. At one time, Parenteau was sharing a house with both women.
The initial tax fraud was a scheme to create a fake business with large losses that would result in $858,000 in refunds. Parenteau then created a fake job for McCarty, complete with fabricated paychecks and pay stubs, which they used to qualify for loans.
Parenteau will be sentenced in the next 90 days. He could spend the rest of his life in prison.
- Sources: Columbus Dispatch "Homebuilder found guilty of loan fraud" July 3, 2010; "Ex-mistress tells of loan fraud" May 21, 2010