BY ELLIOT ENOKI – HONOLULU, HAWAII – Today a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Hawaii residents CHARLES ALAN PFLUEGER, JAMES HENRY PFLUEGER, RANDALL KEN KURATA, JULIE ANN KAM, and California resident DENNIS LAWRENCE DUBAN, with conspiracy to defraud the United States for the purpose of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service in its collection of taxes.
CHARLES ALAN PFLUEGER, identified in the indictment as the owner of Pflueger, Inc., JAMES PFLUEGER, identified in the indictment as the former owner of Pflueger, Inc., and KAM, identified in the indictment as the executive assistant to CHARLES ALAN PFLUEGER, are also charged with filing false federal individual tax returns for three, two, and two years respectively, and KURATA, identified in the indictment as the Chief Financial Officer of Pflueger, Inc., is also charged with filing a false federal corporate tax return on behalf of Pflueger, Inc.
The grand jury also indicted JAMES PFLUEGER and DUBAN for a separate conspiracy to defraud the United States for the purpose of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service in its collection of taxes in connection with JAMES PFLUEGER’s sale of a property in California, from which proceeds were sent to a bank account located in Switzerland. The indictment further charges JAMES PFLUEGER with failing to disclose to the federal government the existence of the foreign bank account. DUBAN, identified as a certified public accountant in the indictment, is also charged with aiding in the filing of false federal tax returns on behalf of CHARLES ALAN PFLUEGER (two counts) and JAMES PFLUEGER (one count).
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that according to the indictment, as part of the first conspiracy charge, the defendants caused the personal expenses of CHARLES ALAN PFLUEGER, JAMES PFLUEGER, and others, including Pflueger family members, to be paid for by Pflueger, Inc. The indictment alleges these expenses were then deducted as business expenses on Pflueger, Inc. corporate tax returns signed by KURATA. The indictment also states that additional personal expenses of CHARLES ALAN
PFLUEGER, as well as KAM, were paid for by another limited liability company owned by CHARLES ALAN PFLUEGER called Pacific Auto Distributors.
According to the indictment, as part of the second conspiracy involving the sale of the California property, JAMES PFLUEGER and DUBAN set up a Cook Islands trust called the Vista Pacifica Trust.
The indictment relates that after creating the trust, they opened a bank account in the trust’s name in Switzerland. In addition to failing to disclose the existence of the foreign bank account, the indictment alleges that a federal income tax return for 2007 filed on behalf of JAMES PFLUEGER did not properly report the profit JAMES PFLUEGER received from the sale.
For the conspiracy counts, the defendants face a maximum period of imprisonment of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000. For the false tax return counts, the defendants face a maximum period of imprisonment of three years and a maximum fine of $250,000. For the failure to report the foreign bank account, defendant JAMES PFLUEGER faces a maximum period of imprisonment of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Clare Connors and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Timothy Stockwell.
EDITOR’S NOTE: James Pflueger also is facing 7 manslaughter counts related to the breach of his March 14, 2006, Kaloko Dam on the North Shore of Kauai. His trial date in state court has been delayed multiple times because of his legal tactics. He recently settled the civil lawsuit related to the wrongful deaths and property damage aspects of the case.
James Pflueger already has been convicted of 10 felony counts related to his 2001 illegal grading on another Kauai property in Pilaa, which caused up to 1,000 tons of mud to run into the pristine bay. He was fine $7.5 million for violating the federal Clean Water Act and ordered by the EPA to restore the land he graded and grubbed without permits. The fine was the largest in US history by one landowner for storm water violations at a single property.
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Elliot Enoki is with the US Attorney’s office in Hawaii