BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – Charles Alan Pflueger, head of Pacific Honda (formerly known as Pflueger Honda), one of the state’s largest auto dealerships, was sentenced on Friday, October 11, to 15 months in federal prison for tax violations. In addition to his prison sentence, which begins December 6, he was ordered to pay a $40,000 fine, an additional $26,000 in unpaid taxes, and must complete 200 hours of community service.
The IRS claimed Alan Pflueger owes up to $1 million in taxes. Alan Pflueger could have received up to three years in prison, and ordered to pay restitution and a $250,000 fine.
On Friday, outside federal court, Alan Pflueger said: “It’s been a tough day for my family and I. It feels good to take responsibility for the mistakes that I’ve made and I’m looking forward to doing good things. And I’m thankful for all the people that supported me.”
Alan Pflueger is an award-winning veteran pro-truck driver, who on the web site Pflueger Forum, is categorized as “fearless.” He has competed in some of the toughest races in the world, and in a 2002 news article in Racing West, was deemed “one of the fastest rising drivers in off-roading.”
Alan Pflueger’s racing talents and fearless attitude are reminiscent of his father, James Henry Pflueger, 87, also once was a successful racecar driver.
Both built their wealth from the dealership that James Pflueger opened, as well as family trust money inherited from Mary Lucas, James Pflueger’s grandmother. Both Alan and James Pflueger are star athletes, and well known in business, ocean sports and car racing circles.
Hawaii Business magazine ranked James Pflueger as one of the wealthiest individuals in Hawaii. Public records show in 2007, he had $71 million in assets.
On September 5, 2010, James Pflueger and Alan Pflueger were indicted on charges of “conspiracy to defraud the United States for the purpose of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service in its collection of taxes.” Also charged were two Pflueger employees, Julie Ann Kam and Randall Ken Kurata, and Los Angeles-based accountant
Alan Pflueger pleaded guilty to filing a false 2005 income tax return, “knowing it was materially false in that it failed to report taxable income.”
Kurata, an employee of Alan Pflueger as chief financial officer of Pflueger Inc., pleaded guilty to filing a false corporate income tax return for 2003. Under the plea deal, additional counts were dismissed, but Alan Pflueger and Kurata agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of others charged in the case.
Alan Pflueger directly implicated Duban in wrongdoing in his plea deal, alleging that Duban helped arrange the use of a Pflueger company to pay personal expenses of James and Alan Pflueger.
Duban pleaded guilty in October 2012 to conspiring to defraud the IRS and to assisting in the filing of a false tax return.
Alan Pflueger also filed a civil lawsuit against Duban in August 2013 over the federal tax filings that led to his indictment.
The original criminal indictment alleged that personal expenses were deducted as business expenses on the Pflueger, Inc. corporate tax returns, which were signed by Kurata. The indictment also stated additional personal expenses of Charles Alan Pflueger, as well as Kam, were paid for by Pacific Auto Distributors, a company owned by Charles Alan Pflueger, Nakakuni said.
The U.S. Attorney added charges for James Pflueger and his accountant Dennis Duban in connection with James Pflueger’s sale of a property in California. The U.S. Attorney said an estimated $14 million in proceeds “were sent to a bank account located in Switzerland” and that James Pflueger failed to disclose the existence of the foreign bank account to the IRS.
James Pflueger was acquitted of the charges against him on March 20, 2013.
U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi said the government did not prove James Pflueger intentionally conspired to conceal profits he earned on the California land deal from the IRS.
James Pflueger is the same person who also was charged by the state of Hawaii on 7 counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless endangerment for causing the deaths of 7 people when his Ka Loko Dam breached on March 14, 2006.
The state attorney general said Pflueger intentionally covered the dam’s main safety feature, its spillway, without proper permits or authorization, which led to the dam breach.
In a plea deal with the state attorney general, James Pflueger pleaded “no contest” to one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree.
His company, Pacific 808 Properties LP, pleaded guilty to 7 counts of manslaughter and will pay a fine of $50,000 to the state for each person killed for a total of $350,000.
Pflueger will be sentenced on the criminal endangerment count in January 2014.