A Los Angeles businessman was convicted in Utah Monday of criminal charges involving a $1 billion renewable fuel tax credit fraud scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Lev Aslan Dermen, also known as Levon Termendzhyan, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and multiple money laundering counts after a seven-week trial in Salt Lake City, according to the DOJ.
Derman faces up to 30 years in federal prison at a sentencing hearing yet to be scheduled, prosecutors said.
Dermen, the owner and operator of several companies, including Beverly Hills real estate firm SBK Holdings USA, was found to have conspired with others to falsely claim more than $1 billion in renewable fuel tax credits from the IRS from 2010 to 2016, federal prosecutors said.
The defendant and his co-conspirators “created and implemented this massive biofuel scheme to fund their greed at the expense of all taxpayers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the DOJ’s Tax Division.
“The conviction should serve as clear notice that we will vigorously prosecute those criminals who engage in any form of tax fraud,” he said.
The biofuel tax credit program was established by the government to promote a clean fuel alternative to traditional fuel options, said Don Fort, chief of IRS Criminal Investigation.
Dermen used his Commerce-based company Noil Energy Group to “conspire to corrupt the biofuel tax credit program in an effort to steal over $1 billion from tax payers and launder the proceeds,” Fort said.
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