San Diego

Local Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion and Fleeing From Prosecution

A Ramona man was sentenced to eight and half years in federal prison on Monday for tax evasion and fleeing on the eve of a trial, the U.S. Attorney's office confirmed.

Louis Joseph Vadino, 75, was convicted of tax evasion and making false statements to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigators. He had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of passport fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and failure to appear in court.

In 2006, after a tax audit, the IRS demanded $1.2 million in additional taxes relating to Vadino's 1999 tax return, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. But Vadino did not pay the taxes and hid his assets for IRS special agents using offshore accounts.

“While repeatedly telling the IRS that he had no money to pay his outstanding tax liability, he was buying cars, expensive model airplanes, and a nearly million-dollar home," Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown said in a statement.

Vadino was indicted on tax evasion charges in 2012.

On the eve of his trial in 2013, he cut off his ankle bracelet and ran away. He was taken into custody a year later, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

"While pending trial on the tax charges, he engaged in a series of calculated acts designed to avoid justice, which included obtaining a birth certificate, military discharge papers and a Veteran Affairs identification card to conceal his true identity," Brown said.

Vadino was found to own the IRS $4.7 million, including the $1.2 million from his 1999 tax return.

He was sentenced to 102 months in prison.

Steven Ness, a 45-year-old Long Beach resident was also sentenced to more than four months in prison for helping Vadino.

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