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Date: 09-08-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Craig Steven Voyton

Case Number: 8:23-cr-00075

Judge: John W. Holcomb

Court: United States District Court for the Central District of California (Orange County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Santa Ana

Defendant's Attorney: Nate MacPherson

Description: Santa Ana, California criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with tax evasion.

Craig Steven Voyton, 56, of San Pedro, pleaded guilty to tax evasion.

Voyton owns and operates Smart Grass LLC, which installs artificial turf for residential and commercial customers in Orange and Los Angeles counties.

From 2016 to 2020, Smart Grass generated more than $1.5 million in gross income per year from its business operations, and – not wanting to pay taxes that income – Voyton attempted to conceal that income from the IRS.

To do so, Voyton emailed customers federal tax forms listing false identification information, so, if and when the customers reported to the IRS the payments they had made to him and his company, those payments would not be linked directly to Voyton or Smart Grass for tax purposes.

On three occasions in 2020, Voyton emailed to customers in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills an IRS Form W-9 with false information and a signature in a fictitious identity. Voyton sent similar fraudulent IRS Forms W-9 during the tax years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Voyton also provided a false IRS Form W-9 to a school in Irvine in August 2016.

While attempting to evade the payment of taxes during this time, Voyton made more than $63,000 in transfers to the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange from a Smart Grass bank account. Voyton also used more than $500,000 in company funds to make real estate purchases in Nevada and Mexico.

In total, Voyton failed to report approximately $8,926,333 in income, which prevented the IRS from assessing the total sum of approximately $946,479 in federal income taxes for the tax years 2016 through 2020.

Prior to today’s sentencing hearing, Voyton paid the IRS all the back taxes he owes, plus interest, as well as paying an additional 75% fraud penalty.

“[Voyton] was a businessowner who operated a business in Orange and Los Angeles counties,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. “He generated more than a million dollars in business income each year. He reported not one dime of that to the IRS.”

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Charles E. Pell of the Santa Ana Branch Office prosecuted this case.

Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 15 months in prison, followed by supervised release for a term of one year. Special assessment of $100. Total fine of $50,000.

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