Former North Carolina Business Owners Sentenced for Tax Fraud
On September 1, 2011, in Charlotte, N.C., Duane Hamelink and his wife, Eileen Hamelink, formerly of Mooresville, N.C., were sentenced to 27 months and 21 months in prison respectively, to be followed by three years of supervised release for each. In addition, the Hamelinks were ordered to pay $1,086,815 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to court documents and statements made during court proceedings, from about 1992 to about 2005, Duane and Eileen Hamelink owned and operated a trim carpentry business. The Hamelinks failed to file income tax returns despite earning substantial income and they took numerous steps to conceal their income and assets from the IRS. For example, the Hamelinks obtained several sham trusts and related nominee bank accounts to conceal their ownership of their trim carpentry business. In addition, the Hamelinks used a sham trust to obtain a foreign bank account in Cyprus and transferred approximately $285,327 of income into the account over a three year time period. The Hamelinks also concealed approximately $654,344 derived from the sale of their home using a series of false liens, bogus trusts, and a foreign bank account. Chris Hughes, of Charlotte, N.C., was also sentenced today to six months in prison and six months of home confinement for obstructing and impeding the IRS criminal investigation of Duane and Eileen Hamelink. According to court records, in 2005, Hughes engaged in a real estate transaction with the Hamelinks and directed the proceeds of the transaction, approximately $655,100, to an offshore bank account at First Curacao International Bank. Hughes provided false statements to IRS special agents conducting a criminal investigation of Duane and Eileen Hamlink’s tax evasion scheme concerning facts related to the real estate transaction.