CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051
BUFFALO, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Michael MacPherson, 56, of Kenmore, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to mail fraud and tax evasion. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. Kruly, who is handling the case, stated that in January 2017, MacPherson solicited an individual from Kansas to invest in a bulk cigarette deal, telling the individual that he had an agreement with a Native American tribe in New York State to purchase cigarettes at a discounted rate and resell them at a significant markup. MacPherson claimed that, in exchange for a $75,000 investment, the individual would receive a 15-20% return within 90 to 120 days. The individual sent MacPherson a check made payable to Paget Trust, LLC, the company through which MacPherson primarily operated his business activities. MacPherson, however, did not buy cigarettes, instead spending the money on payments to the Niagara Falls Country Club and Canisius High School, airline flights, hotels, car rental, utilities, retail purchases, gas, clothing, groceries, restaurants, and other merchants.
In December 2017, MacPherson contacted the individual again to solicit a $20,000 investment for the purchase of carbon fiber, representing that the individual would receive his principal investment, in addition to a 30% return, within 180 days. The individual sent MacPherson a check for $20,000, made payable once again to Paget Trust, LLC. Once again, MacPherson did not use the money as stated, instead using it to pay a defaulted business loan, cash withdrawals, airline flights, car rental, utilities, retail purchases, gas, groceries, restaurants, hockey tickets, and other merchants.
In addition, between 2015 and April 15, 2019, MacPherson attempted to evade income taxes for calendar years 2015 and 2017. For tax year 2015, he failed to file a federal income tax return despite receiving gross income totaling approximately $265,254, including approximately $232,500 from a second individual. Once again, MacPherson used the money on personal expenses. For the 2017 tax year, MacPherson omitted approximately $80,156 in gross business receipts. The amount of tax loss to the United States is $93,815.00.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Boston Division, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Ketty Larco-Ward, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Fattorusso.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 25, 2023, before Judge Arcara.
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