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O.C. Man Sentenced to 3 Years for Conspiracy, Tax Evasion

August 12, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

An Orange County tax shelter promoter was sentenced Monday to three years in federal prison for helping people hide their money from the Internal Revenue Service.

Edward J. Lashlee, 54, also must pay a $12,500 fine and back taxes.

The Mission Viejo resident pleaded guilty on March 5 to conspiracy and tax evasion charges. He admitted that the thousands of trusts he created allowed people to hide ownership of major assets and avoid reporting a substantial portion of their income.

Lashlee admitted in his plea deal that he promoted trust investments into the Genesis Fund, which claimed to be an unregulated private investment fund based in Orange County that traded foreign currency through offshore accounts in Hong Kong, Macao and elsewhere.

Potential investors were told that Genesis was extremely profitable and that it did not report its investors' accounts to the Internal Revenue Service, authorities said.

Lashlee acknowledged handling the transfer of about $24 million in Genesis investor funds to offshore bank accounts in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Authorities said he gave clients with offshore bank accounts Visa and debit cards that enabled clients to secretly retrieve and spend their money.

He also created trusts for business owners that improperly deducted the clients' personal expenses as expenses of the trust, authorities said.

In pleading guilty, Lashlee also admitted failing to report about $3 million in income from 1992 through 2000.

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