Fresno Business Owner Indicted for Additional Tax and Social Security Fraud Charges

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Thursday against Marcus Asay, 66, of Fresno, charging him with making false tax returns, and concealing a matter with an intent to fraudulently secure Social Security disability benefits, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, from 2016-2018, Asay reported very little taxable income although he knew that his taxable income was more than $50,000. As the chairman of American Labor Alliance (ALA), Asay caused the organization to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of personal expenses, including over $50,000 to dating and escort websites and $120,000 in rent for Asay’s personal residences.

Asay also received Social Security disability benefits beginning in 2010. The benefits are available for individuals who cannot perform full-time work due to a qualifying disability. In approximately 2015, Asay began working full time as the chairman of ALA. From 2016-2019, Asay worked full time and was not entitled to receive benefits, but he concealed this fact from the Social Security Administration. During this time, the Social Security Administration paid Asay and a dependent over $90,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by the IRS Criminal Investigation, Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael G. Tierney, Stephanie M. Stokman, and Alexandre M. Dempsey are prosecuting the case.

If convicted of filing a false tax return, Asay faces a maximum statutory penalty of three years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for each count. If convicted of concealing and failing to disclose a matter related to Social Security Benefits, Asay faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Asay is also charged with fraud and money laundering offenses in a separate case, USA v. Agricultural Contracting Services Association et al., 1:19-cr-003-DAD. That case is set for trial in November 2022. According to court documents, between March 2016 and March 2017, ALA, Asay, and Antonio Gastelum, of Fresno, carried out a scheme to provide workers’ compensation coverage to clients and issued Certificates of Liability to clients that included names of insurers and false policy numbers. ALA allegedly collected at least $2.8 million in workers’ compensation premiums. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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