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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Thirty-Month Sentence on Filipino Concert Promoter Affirmed
Thirty-Month Sentence on Filipino Concert Promoter Affirmed PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - MiscellaNEWS
Sunday, 03 April 2011 21:30

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Journal Group Link International)

    

C HICAGO (jGLi) – The United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois, did not disturb the 30-month sentence imposed by the U.S. Northern District Court of Illinois on a 45-year-old Filipino concert promoter who was found guilty by a jury of “counts 1, 2, and 3 of the indictment” for failure to declare money she raised from investors to host ghost concerts.

 

In an e-mail to this reporter, the concert promoter’s lawyer, Paul Camarena, said, Manilen Mendoza also known as Manilen Mangaldan and Manilen Blake “still has a right to file an appeal for habeas corpus. But the Court of Appeals ruled that the jury's verdict and the trial court's ruling were not in error, and the court of appeals let the conviction and sentence stand.  There are no more appeals pending.”

 

Ms. Mendoza is due for release from Federal Prisons on Nov. 21, 2011.

 

Atty. Camarena said, Mendoza “was not given any credit for her California state sentence.”

 

In his appeal, Mr. Camarena told the Court of Appeals that his client should be given a break by “grouping” her theft offense in California with her tax offense in Illinois “into a single offense level group” that could reduce her sentencing range of 33 to 41 months. He also asked that she be given 13 months credit for her time served in California.

 

“They are two separate crimes,” Judge Coar said. “There’s no way that this fraud covered up the tax offense.”

 

FRAUD AND TAX EVASION INVOLVE DIFFERENT HARM

 

T he jury convicted Ms. Mendoza for tax counts, “and, thus, did not adjust” her federal sentence for imprisonment in California, citing precedents “that fraud and tax evasion normally involve different harms and thus not be grouped.”

 

Court records show that Ms. Mendoza admitted that she “didn’t file corporate tax returns” as her tax preparer further testified that she failed “to disclose [the business] income or business at the time that [the preparer] w[as] talking to [Mendoza] in connection with the [tax] returns.”  Nor did she tell her second tax preparer that she owned the business.

 

Trial witnesses testified that Ms. Mendoza defrauded them of over $10,000 and a jury convicted her of failing to report the fraud proceeds on her tax returns. The U.S. Government estimated that “tax loss was more than $80,000, and the Defendant did not object to these assertions.”

 

U.S. government prosecutors said although Ms. Mendoza was convicted of grand theft in California in 1991, the three-month sentence and the 36-month probation imposed on her did not deter her from committing "future criminal conduct.”

 

PROMOTER APOLOGIZED TO HER FAMILY BUT NOT VICTIMS

 

B efore her sentencing, Ms. Mendoza told Judge Coar, “I’m really sorry, Your Honor, that it ended up this way. And I really do want to extend my apology to my family, to my husband and my children. I know that I put them through the pain and the grief because of this. And I thank my husband for standing by me with this.”

 

A caregiver from Schiller Park, Illinois, Ms. Mendoza was accused by the US Internal Revenue Service of filing false tax returns for three years from 2004 to 2006. According to the indictment, Ms. Mendoza was the owner and operator of a concert-promotion business called Infinity Productions, which was later known as Prestige Entertainment, Inc. In the indictment, Patrick J. King Jr., Assistant US Attorney, representing the government, said that Ms. Mendoza obtained four investors for the purpose of holding four concerts: Lionel Richie in California (2004), Olivia Newton John in the Philippines (2005), Stevie Wonder and Kenny Rogers in Illinois (2006). In each case, the concert did not occur and Ms. Mendoza "used these funds for other purposes including transferring a portion of the funds to other businesses she operated."


Ms. Mendoza took investors' money and converted it to her personal use but failed to report the money she received from her entertainment business as income on her tax returns," according to Special Agent Maria Suarez of the Chicago Field Office of the IRS Criminal investigation. according to the indictment, Ms. Mendoza reported taxable income of $14,000 in her 2004 tax return. She did not report additional gross income of $180,243, which she had received in 2004 from her business, Infinity Productions.

 

According to Ms. Suarez, Manilen Mendoza was first arrested by the San Francisco police in March 2008 for defrauding investors out of their money. She was jailed there for about a year before she was brought to Chicago for arraignment on the federal charges. After she pleaded not guilty, a trial ensued. Three days later, the jury returned a guilty verdict. # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 



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