An Ohio businessman was sentenced to four years in prison Monday for running a tax shelter scheme that featured the voices of such celebrities as Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda and singer Pat Boone on audio tapes and promised investors big tax write-offs.
Johnathan D'Orio, 42, of Akron, Ohio, was convicted in September on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud and mail fraud. After being sentenced Monday in federal court in Los Angeles, he was ordered to surrender to federal marshals on Dec. 6 and will be eligible for parole in one year.
Federal prosecutors alleged that D'Orio bilked 1,150 investors out of $12.6 million by promising inflated investment tax breaks. They said the government could have lost as much as $20 million in tax write-offs.
D'Orio's trial featured testimony by Lasorda, actor Vincent Price and Boone, who were paid sign-up fees ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 plus per-tape recording fees of $250. Prosecutors said the celebrities were not involved in the scheme.
D'Orio had the tapes appraised at up to $199,000 each, far above their actual value, and the investors claimed tax write-offs based on the tapes' inflated value. The tax breaks were eventually disallowed.