Is anyone else who works from home sick and tired of the constant calls from telemarketers trying to get you to go solar, renovate your home or buy some other bag of bullshit they are hawking? I got on the national registry to cut down on these calls, and they only seem to have increased. I've tried everything to make them stop calling: yelled at 'em, drummed pillows with the receiver, even taken the cordless into the crapper and made them listen to grunts and plops. But the calls keep coming, which is why I'm smiling at what just happened to 54-year-old Raymond Lee Leonard of Mission Viejo.
After getting busted years ago for shady telemarketing, Leonard had agreed that upon his release from prison, he would have nothing to do with phone soliciting. But then he put his 19-year-old son "in charge" of his telemarketing business before heading off to prison, and then once out secretly ran the company that promoted bogus oil and gas investments from offices in Irvine and Mission Viejo.
For tax evasion related to his ill-gotten gains, Leonard this week earned 30 more months of imprisonment, three years of supervised release after that and a whopping restitution bill of $2,452,546, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Sounds like it couldn't have happened to a nicer dude.
Leonard was convicted of mail fraud in 2003 and imprisoned a year later on telemarketing solicitation for fraudulent investment activities through his business Consumer Information Network, Inc. (or CIN; we'll assume you pronounce the "c" like an "s"). Before going away, Leonard caused his son Evan Leonard, who is now 29, to become the president and 100 percent shareholder of CIN, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Among the conditions of Raymond Leonard's supervised release after leaving prison in November 2005 was he could have no "association with telemarketing and investment solicitation activities," prosecutors note.But the government says even though Evan Leonard carried the CIN president title, Raymond Leonard returned to directing the activities from their Orange County offices, "including holding frequent sales meetings with the telemarketers, conducting training sessions on how to 'pitch the public' and offering incentives for the telemarketers who sold the most oil and gas investments."
The elder Leonard, using the alias "Jimmy Blake," even participated in conference calls with investors "in which he would promote the fraudulent oil and gas investments and act as a closer when his telemarketers had difficulty with interested investors who were asking too many questions," the U.S. Attorney says.
Leonard in May 2006 directed his son to transfer a significant portion of funds obtained from the CIN telemarketers' oil and gas solicitations into two CIN bank accounts held for personal use–and had his son use the funds to purchase a seven-bedroom and eight bathroom house in Laguna Hills, according to the government prosecutors. He was sly enough to have the home's title placed in a relative's name, but the government says Leonard made all the decisions concerning his primary residence, including major renovations. The cost of renovations and mortgage payments during 2007 and 2008 were paid for from bank accounts containing the diverted corporate funds, prosecutors add.
He went on to fail to report at least $3,393,622 in income on the individual tax returns he filed for the years 2006 through 2008, resulting in a tax loss to the government of $1,093,284. He also failed to report at least $1,458,624 in income and claimed false deductions totaling $2,316,590 on CIN's corporate returns he filed for the years 2005 and 2006, resulting in a tax loss to the government of $1,359,262.
In August 2012, Leonard pleaded guilty to a five-count information charging him with evading taxes on his 2006 through 2008 individual income tax returns, as well as his 2005 and 2006 corporate returns. United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton sentenced Leonard Monday, including the order that he pay restitution of $2,452,546 to the Internal Revenue Service, whose Criminal Investigation division joined the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California in the probe of the telemarketing scum.
Evan Leonard pleaded guilty in October 2013 to a one-count information charging him with subscribing to a false income tax return for the 2006 tax year. Judge Stanton is scheduled to sentence him next month. Daddy can keep a cot warm for him.