Donald Wanland, Jr. is described as a “financially successful” attorney. A resident of El Dorado Hills, California (a Sacramento suburb), Mr. Wanland practices in real estate, business litigation, and construction litigation. Perhaps I should change that to practiced because a trip to ClubFed appears to be in his future.
Mr. Wanland may have earned lots of money–his tax returns from 2000 through 2003 showed income of more than $1.5 million–but he didn’t like paying taxes. Now, most of us don’t like paying taxes but we do so anyway as the consequences of not doing so can be problematic (especially for an attorney). Mr. Wanland, though, had other ideas. At least he filed those tax returns (showing tax due of $448,451); he just didn’t pay those taxes. The DOJ press release notes that Mr. Wanland didn’t pay all of his taxes in the 1990s either.
Well, what did Mr. Wanland do after 2003? He didn’t file returns (though he earned over $1 million from 2004 – 2007). When the IRS issued a levy in 2005, Mr. Wanland decided that a good strategy was to hide all of his income through nominee accounts. (Here’s a helpful hint to others considering such a strategy: Don’t do this!) Meanwhile, Mr. Wanland continued to spend money on vacations, two new cars (a Mercedes Benz and a Cadillac Escalade), gambling at Las Vegas casinos (well, as a Las Vegas resident I’m not as upset with this), and a pool at his home. These were not good ideas when he owed significant tax to the IRS. Oh, I should mention he also made false statements to the IRS.
These are felonies, something an attorney should be knowledgeable about (and want to avoid). A jury on Thursday found that Mr. Wanland was guilty of 28 tax-related charges. Given that the amount of tax involved, I suspect Mr. Wanland is looking at four years at ClubFed. There’s also a likely fine, and restitution.
Mr. Wanland does have one thing to look forward to: He did receive a nomination for my Tax Offender of the Year Award.