Saturday, July 23, 2011

Former NASA Agent Stole from Church, Filed False Tax Returns in California


A former special agent who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Inspector General office has pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return that failed to list the $300,000 in cash he stole from his church’s collections while serving as a deacon.

Alvin Danielle Allen, 42, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of subscribing to a false tax return for 2004, but also admitted in a Los Angeles federal court that he filed fraudulent returns for 2005 through 2008.

Allen had served as a deacon at Lancaster Baptist Church in Lancaster, Calif., since around 1998 and was also a member of the church’s board. From 2004 through 2009, he served on a church committee that counted the tithes after the church services. While serving in that role, he regularly stole from the congregants’ cash contributions, he admitted in his plea agreement. The amount of money he stole varied over the years until approximately October 2009, when he was caught on a hidden surveillance camera stealing the church tithings and hiding the cash in his clothes. He stole approximately $299,975 from the church between 2004 and 2008.

Allen is expected to remain in prison until he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge George H. King in November. He was previously convicted in state court of grand theft by embezzlement and commercial burglary for stealing from the church.

“Alvin Allen’s actions were detestable,” said special agent-in-charge Leslie P. DeMarco of the IRS-Criminal Investigation Los Angeles Field Office in a statement. “Allen violated the trust placed in him by NASA as well as his church community, for his own personal financial gain.”

According to the IRS, Allen failed to report approximately $42,436 in cash tithings that he stole from the church. He also falsely reported that he sold his rental property for a loss of $17,940, when in fact he made a profit of approximately $60,000.

For tax years 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, Allen failed to report cash tithings stolen from the church of approximately $75,096, $61,903, $33,123, and $87,417, respectively. The tax loss to the IRS totals approximately $88,882.

Allen faces up to three years in prison. He has also agreed to pay all the additional taxes, penalties and interest assessed by the IRS on the basis of the returns before his sentencing date

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