Business owners sentenced for defrauding the US, must pay $1M restitution

The owners of a lawn care and snow removal business in Goshen have been sentenced for conspiracy to defraud the US and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution for underreporting their income by over $2 million, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Michael Closson, 52, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and tax evasion. He was sentenced to prison on Thursday, but the length of his sentence was not released.

Laquita Closson, 49, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and was sentenced on Thursday to home detention.

The Clossons are a married couple who filed false joint tax returns between 2012 and 2016 that underreported their actual income, reports said.

They failed to report more than $2 million in gross receipts, which resulted in them evading more than $600,000 in federal income taxes and almost $300,000 in state income taxes, prosecutors said.

They were also accused of submitting false Medicaid applications that allowed them to receive $65,000 worth of Medicaid benefits, reports said.

The US Attorneys Office says the couple owned two homes, a time share, over $10,000 worth of luxury handbags, and four vehicles, including a Lamborghini and a Cadillac Escalade.

In addition to their sentences, the Clossons must pay restitution of $662,027.00 to the IRS; $298,300.75 to the Indiana Department of Revenue; and $64,732.39 to Medicaid.

“Honest and law abiding taxpayers are fed up with the likes of those who use deceit and fraud to line their pockets with other people’s money as well as skirt their tax obligations," said Tamera Cantu, IRS Criminal Investigation, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Chicago Field Office. "Today’s sentencing is a direct result of IRS Criminal Investigation working together with the Northern District of Indiana U.S. Attorney’s office to protect America’s honest, hard-working taxpayers.”

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