Hernando, Hillsborough men sentenced in tax credit scheme

TAMPA — Two men convicted of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service of some $38 million in a complex tax credit scheme have been sentenced to a combined 16 years in federal prison.

George B. Calvert, 78, of Hernando Beach and Gregory F. Guido, 54, of Lithia were convicted in June of conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, among other charges.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday sentenced Calvert to seven years. He was also ordered Calvert to forfeit $10.07 million, the proceeds that prosecutors said he gained from the scheme. He faced a maximum sentence of 95 years.

Merryday on Wednesday sentenced Guido to nine years and ordered him to forfeit $5.93 million. He faced a maximum sentence of 75 years.

Calvert and Guido were also ordered to pay a total of $26.9 million in restitution to the IRS.

The case centered on an IRS provision that allowed producers of fuels from nonconventional sources — in this case, methane gas pumped from landfills — to claim a tax credit when they sold the fuel to unrelated third parties. Calvert and Guido created fraudulent documents that stated landfill owners had transferred the rights to claim the tax credits to the defendants' own companies, including Hernando County-based Gas Recovery Partners-2GP.

In order to claim the tax credits, Calvert and Guido falsified and backdated documents to indicate the gas company was selling the methane to unrelated third parties. Those sales, prosecutors said, never occurred.

Defense attorneys argued that the two men were the victims of a third defendant, Robert H. Anderson, a conspirator in the scheme who pleaded guilty to a fraud charge and was sentenced earlier to 21 months in prison. A judge also ordered Anderson to pay the IRS $2 million in restitution and forfeit nearly $6 million.

It's unclear how much of the proceeds the two men will actually be able to return or how much restitution they can pay. The U.S. Attorney's Asset Recovery Unit will investigate the men's finances, a spokeswoman said.

Seven years is a life sentence for Calvert, said his attorney, Norman S. Cannella Sr. of Tampa.

Calvert suffers from chronic lung disease, among other health issues, and is dependant on oxygen 24 hours a day, Cannella said.

"He's a wreck, to put it plainly," he said. "He'll probably die in prison."

Hernando, Hillsborough men sentenced in tax credit scheme 10/26/11 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2011 8:59am]

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