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 June 9, 2023

DC Businessmen found guilty of bribing tax official

Two Washington businessmen were found guilty of bribing a city tax official to save millions of dollars.

The verdict against the two men was announced on Thursday, according to a news release from the Justice Department.

The two men

"Andre De Moya, 54, of Temple Hills, Maryland, and Anthony Merritt, a 48-year-old D.C. resident, were found guilty of bribery, conspiracy and wire fraud in their scheme, the Justice Department said," the Washington Times reported.

"De Moya owned stakes in several bars and entertainment venues in the city. Merritt was a former employee of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs who had become a consultant, as well as someone who could help business owners get alcohol licenses and permits quickly," it added.

The details

"According to the evidence at trial, De Moya paid Slater, a former employee of the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR), to fraudulently eliminate tax liabilities of businesses owned by De Moya and others, including Arman Amirshahi and Charles Zhou," the Justice Department explained.

"Anthony Merritt served as a middleman, whom De Moya and Slater relied upon to communicate with Slater and who facilitated the bribe payments. Merritt also took a cut of the bribe payments. Amirshahi, Zhou, and Slater all previously pleaded guilty for their roles in this and related bribery schemes, and are awaiting sentencing," it continued.

The wire fraud charge in the case could include a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing hearing will be held on separate dates in October for the two men.

The case adds to a growing number of fraud cases being investigated by the Justice Department in recent months to put a stop to tax-related crimes.

The announcement also comes shortly after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced a crackdown on a major cryptocurrency fraud site, showing further evidence of efforts to stop fraud.

The latest move by the Justice Department included work with the FBI Washington Field Office, D.C. Inspector General and a list of other partners in the effort to stop the two men involved in the crime.

The verdict has been made with the the only remaining aspect to determine the sentencing in the high-profile bribery case.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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