Mark Handel, a 69-year-old Agoura Hills real estate developer, was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty in February 2023 for failing to disclose on a bankruptcy petition that he had earned almost $2.3 million in income and failing to report almost $7 million in income on his tax returns. In addition to the prison sentence, Handel was fined $20,000, ordered to forfeit over $3.5 million in proceeds, and ordered to pay the IRS over $1.5 million in outstanding tax liabilities.
Failure to Disclose Income
In April 2015, Handel filed a bankruptcy petition claiming he had no income from 2013 to 2015. However, he had earned over $2 million in income through his real estate development company, DTMM Construction Inc. Evidence in this case showed that Handel registered DTMM under his wife's name but used it to deposit profits from his own work and to pay for his and his family's living expenses.
Then, in October 2016, Handel signed and filed a false federal income tax return for the 2015 tax year that failed to disclose an additional million dollars in income. It was also discovered that between 2010 and 2017, Handel had failed to report almost $7 million of income on his federal tax returns.
The false reporting continued, claiming a net operating loss of over $7.2 million on his federal income tax return in 2017, underreporting his income by $1.4 million in 2018, and failing to pay almost half a million dollars in additional tax.
How an Experienced Criminal Attorney Can Help
To prove bankruptcy fraud, the prosecution must present evidence that shows the defendant knowingly and fraudulently misrepresented a material fact – like failing to state that you earned millions of dollars in one particular year. Then, to prove the defendant endorsed a false tax return, the prosecution must show that the defendant willfully filed a tax return that he did not believe to be true.
If you or someone you know has been accused of either of these crimes, Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group will review the case and determine the best way to proceed with your defense. Call 818-325-0570 today or schedule a free consultation online.