|For Immediate Release
September 5th, 2003
|Contact:||Susan Kang Schroeder
Deputy District Attorney
(714) 347-8408 (O)
(714) 292-2718 (C)
$11 MILLION STATE TAX EVASION CHARGES FILED AGAINST WEALTHY ORANGE COUNTY ENERGY EXECUTIVE AND HIS FORMER WIFE
SANTA ANA – Richard G. Engel, 59, the owner and CEO of Powerplant Maintenance Specialists, Inc. (PMSI) located in Costa Mesa, was charged with five (5) felony counts of failing to file tax returns and three (3) felony counts of filing false tax returns. His ex-wife, Jolene S. Engel, 52, was charged with seven (7) felony counts of failure to file tax returns and one (1) felony count of filing a false tax return.
Both defendants were arraigned this morning in Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach where they entered a plea of not guilty. Their next court appearance is scheduled on October 10, 2003, for pre-trial. If convicted of all charges, each defendant faces up to sixteen (16) years and eight (8) months in state prison.
Richard and Jolene Engel are charged with failing to report more than $190 million in income and failing to pay the state around $11 million in delinquent income taxes, penalties, and cost of investigation from 1998 to 2001. This information was derived from analyzing and investigating bank account records, computer records and other relevant documents.
“California has ‘zero tolerance’ for tax cheats,” said State Controller and Franchise Tax Board Chair Steve Westly. “Taxpayers in this state pay a high price for tax evasion.”
“Everyone has to pay his or her fair share of taxes. No one has the right to refuse to pay their taxes and spend their money on luxury goods,” said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “It is especially necessary for us to vigorously pursue prosecutions such as these when local governments are forced to make painful choices to cut governmental services for people who really need them.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney William Overtoom has been assigned to this case. Bail for each defendant was set at $500,000.