Jacksonville man sentenced to 33 months in prison for defrauding a religious organization and filing false income tax returns

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Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Brian J. Davis has sentenced Charles Jon David (58, Jacksonville) to 33 months in federal prison for wire fraud and tax fraud. The court also ordered David to forfeit $273,500, representing the proceeds of the wire fraud, and to pay $273,000 in restitution to the victim of the wire fraud and approximately $111,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. David had pleaded guilty on April 9, 2021.

According to court documents, from February 2008 until July 2019, David was employed as the Director of Building and Construction by a Jacksonville-area religious organization. David’s role and responsibilities included overseeing sales of land belonging to the religious organization. David had a fiduciary duty to the religious organization to act in its financial best interests and to protect its assets in conducting these land sales. He understood that it would be a conflict of interest for him to receive compensation from a third-party in connection with these land sales.

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Beginning in 2013, David engaged in a scheme to defraud the religious organization by offering the organization’s land for sale exclusively to two individuals, excluding other potential purchasers. In exchange for giving that preference to those individuals, they paid David kickbacks totaling $229,500. After the two individuals purchased the land, they resold it at a significant profit. David admitted that he sold the religious organization’s land for at least $229,500 less than it was worth. David did not disclose the kickbacks to the religious organization and used at least $72,000 of the kickbacks to fund mortgage payments and settlement costs associated with real property owned by his wife.

On another occasion involving a different individual, David arranged the sale of a piece of the religious organization’s property to a buyer by representing the buyer was a bona fide purchaser when, in reality, David had already arranged for a second buyer to purchase the same property at a significantly higher price on the same day. As a result, the religious organization sold the land to the first buyer for $150,000 and, later the same day, the first buyer sold it to the second buyer for $250,000. The first buyer then transferred to David $44,000 of the proceeds from the second sale.

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In 2014, David falsely told his Certified Public Accountant that $216,000 in consulting income he had received in 2013 was not income, resulting in the filing of a fraudulent tax return. In tax years 2015, 2016, and 2018, David falsely underreported his income to the IRS by not reporting the kickbacks on his tax returns. The resulting tax loss was $110,956.

“This case demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to hold accountable those who use illegal means and criminal behavior to take advantage of others,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division.  “Fraud of any kind poses a fundamental threat to our national security and our way of life. In this case, the defendant prioritized his own personal gain by siphoning away money that could have otherwise been used to support members of our community in need. We appreciate the partnership of the IRS-CI and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to find justice in this case. Together, the FBI and all of our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate these crimes and prosecute those who are intent on defrauding the American public.”

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“We appreciate the partnership with the FBI and IRS-CI which ensured justice was served in this case. Any person who attempts to defraud an individual or organization in St. Johns County will be held accountable,” said Sheriff Robert Hardwick.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura Cofer Taylor.

 

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