Massachusetts owner of Solid Gold Inc. pleads guilty to tax evasion

A Massachusetts businessman pleaded guilty to tax evasion for using nominee entities to hide ownership and control over his businesses and assets from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry J. Wszalek for the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz for the District of Massachusetts.

According to the indictment, Richard L. Furnelli, a former resident of Holyoke and South Hadley, Mass., evaded payment of his federal income taxes for 2006 through 2009, among other years, and also failed to file his federal individual income tax returns for those years.

The indictment alleges that from 2006 through 2009, Furnelli earned more than $2 million in income. Furnelli operated or held substantial interest in Solid Gold Inc. and Gold Club-SF LLC, which owned and operated the Gold Club, an adult entertainment venue in San Francisco. These corporations allegedly earned annual gross receipts ranging from $2.5 million to more than $10 million dollars. During that time period, the indictment also alleges that Furnelli directed the payment of his income to a nominee entity, RLF Ventures LLC, and utilized a bank account held in a nominee name.

According to the plea documents, Furnelli has agreed to pay his outstanding federal income taxes owed to the IRS for the years 1998 through 2009.

Furnelli faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for tax evasion at his April 29, 2015 sentencing before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers