A priest for the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Jose pleaded guilty to four counts of tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf for the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
Hien Minh Nguyen, 56,
admitted that over a period of four years, he stole money his parishioners
donated to the Diocese and willfully evaded paying income taxes on the money he
misappropriated each year from 2008 through 2011. He admitted that he
deposited this money into his personal bank account, did not disclose this
income to his return preparer, did not keep records of the donations he stole,
and filed false income tax returns which did not report this money.
Nguyen also pleaded
not guilty to bank fraud charges. Those charges are still pending.
Nguyen stole money
from his parishioners and filed false returns with the IRS to evade his income
tax obligations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Ciraolo. “The department remains committed to holding all criminal tax
offenders accountable for their illegal conduct, regardless of their
profession. No one is above the law.”
Sentencing on the tax evasion convictions has not been scheduled. Father
Nguyen faces a
statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and monetary penalties for
each tax evasion conviction. Father Nguyen’s next scheduled appearance
is a status conference on the bank fraud charges currently scheduled for Aug.
23. An indictment is merely an allegation and a defendant is presumed
innocent until and unless proven guilty in court. Father Nguyen
pleaded guilty to the tax evasion charges. He has not pleaded guilty to
bank fraud charges and remains presumed innocent of those charges.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch commended special agents of the IRS-CI, who investigated the case and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Moore of the Northern District of California, who are prosecuting the case.
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