Grand Rapids, Michigan – November 16, 2016 – U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today that Daniel Lawrence Broton, age 56, of Sparta, Michigan, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff to 18 months in prison for lying on a financial affidavit submitted to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to aid in the collection of a restitution judgment against Broton from a 2006 criminal case. In addition to his prison term, Broton was sentenced to two years of supervised release and ordered to pay a mandatory special assessment of $100.
Broton was formerly the financial comptroller and the chief financial officer of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. In 2005, Broton was charged with, and pled guilty to, defrauding the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians of $500,000 in construction funds devoted to their casino project. He was sentenced for this offense in 2006 by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell to three years in prison, three years of supervised release, $508,392.28 in restitution, a forfeiture money judgment of $500,000, and a mandatory special assessment of $400.
In 2009, after completing his sentence and receiving early discharge from supervised release, Broton started a rustic furniture making company called Backwoods Casual. Backwoods Casual created furniture and home décor suitable for cabins and lakefront homes using cedar logs. In 2013, the U.S. Attorney’s Office sent a financial affidavit to Broton to obtain information about his post-release financial status to assist with the collection of his outstanding restitution debt and criminal monetary penalties. Since his release, Broton had not paid a dime. Broton returned the financial affidavit to the U.S. Attorney’s Office and claimed to have no employment, no occupation, and no income. In fact, Broton started his business at least by 2011, was earning income, and had the capacity to make payments towards his restitution debt. He completed and returned a second affidavit in 2015 and similarly lied about his financial condition to continue to avoid paying restitution. On March 31, 2016, a federal grand jury indicted Broton for making false statements. Broton pled guilty to the offense on July 14, 2016.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Janet T. Neff recognized Broton’s education and professional history as an accountant. She noted that his false statements were “not an accident” but rather a calculated means to keep his income and avoid paying restitution on his prior criminal judgment. The 18-month prison sentence was the maximum suggested sentence under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
U.S. Attorney Miles stated: “The U.S. Attorney’s Office relies on financial affidavits to obtain an accurate picture of a defendant’s post-release financial condition to aid its post-judgment debt collection efforts. Broton’s sentence should serve as a warning to all defendants who consider making false statements on financial affidavits to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to avoid payment on their criminal monetary obligations. It re-victimizes victims, undermines the court’s judgment, and you will be prosecuted.”
“Today’s sentencing is a direct result of the excellent partnership between the IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation. “This sentence should serve as a deterrent to those who attempt to evade payment of their court-imposed restitution.”
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel S. Fauson.
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