Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | 4:36 p.m.
A Las Vegas personal injury attorney who was convicted last year of tax evasion and owes almost $4 million to the IRS was sentenced today to five years in federal prison.
Edmund C. Botha, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson.
Botha was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $685,505 in restitution to the IRS as a condition of supervised release, said U.S. Attorney Greg Brower of Nevada.
Botha was convicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 25, 2008, for willful evasion of payment of income tax for the tax years 1998 through 2001.
Botha avoided paying taxes by purchasing luxury vehicles in his ex-girlfriend's name, doing all of his business in cash and cashier's checks and entering into a sham child support agreement requiring him to pay about $20,000 per month for two children, court records and evidence presented at his trial indicated.
Testimony at trial showed that Botha conducted more than $2 million in cash transactions from 1998 through 2003. He paid his rent, utilities, payroll and other business expenses with cash or cashier's checks.
Evidence further showed that Botha purchased more than 10 vehicles worth more than $400,000 over a six-year period in his ex-girlfriend's name, while at the same time owning only a 15-year-old car with more than 100,000 miles on it in his name.
"The length, breadth and complexity of this scheme and the gravity of the offense warranted a severe penalty," Brower said. "Despite earning more than $7 million between 1996 and 2006, Mr. Botha paid just over $230,000 in taxes and went to great lengths to hide his assets from the IRS."
Botha has been released on bond and must report to federal prison by Nov. 16.
"Let this be a warning to anyone willfully evading their taxes while living a lavish lifestyle," said Paul A. Camacho, special agent in charge of IRS Criminal Investigation. "Not even a skilled attorney can hide from IRS Criminal Investigation. The vast majority of taxpayers are honest and we owe it to them to vigorously go after those individuals who thumb their nose at paying their fair share of taxes.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell E. Marsh and trial attorney Ellen Quattrucci of the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division.