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Edmond sports marketing agent pleads guilty to tax fraud through non-profit

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OKLAHOMA CITY – An Edmond sports marketing agent pleaded guilty earlier this week to making false statements on federal tax returns for The Tommie Harris Foundation, a non-profit corporation.

According to charges filed on September 6, 2017, William G. Horn was a sports marketing agent who operated charitable organizations associated with NFL and NBA athletes.

He registered one of these, The Tommie Harris Foundation, with the Oklahoma Secretary of State in late 2006 and used his home as the Foundation’s principal office.

Horn sought and received tax-exempt status from the IRS under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Officials say he personally solicited donations for the Foundation, which held an annual celebrity golf event to raise money for those in need. He also managed the Foundation’s finances and filed its Forms 990, which are federal tax returns for tax-exempt organizations.

According to charges, Horn signed and field Forms 990 for the Foundation for tax years 2007 through 2012.

During that time, the Foundation is alleged to have reported total donations received of $1,840,495 and total distributions to other organizations of $705,699.

The majority of the difference of $1,134,796 was reported as “functional expenses.”

Horn was charged with making false statements on Forms 990 for the 2011 and 2012 tax years. He reported falsely on both returns that he received no compensation from the Foundation.

According to the charges, he actually diverted approximately $136,620.06 to personal bank accounts in 2011 and made approximately $39,205.42 in purchases for personal use on a Foundation credit card.

In 2012, he diverted approximately $129,451.04 to himself and made approximately $41,126.37 in purchases for personal use on a Foundation credit card.  He also allegedly made false statements on these returns about having distributed tens of thousands of dollars to other charities – Straight From the Heart Foundation, Mercy Church West Coast, and Opportunity Knox – when in fact he controlled those charities and spent the money on himself.

At a plea hearing Wednesday, Horn admitted he made false statements on the 2011 and 2012 federal tax returns for The Tommie Harris Foundation.

In a plea agreement, he has agreed to pay restitution to The Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the amount of $721,947.81, which accounts for his diversion of funds from the Foundation’s charitable giving.

He faces a maximum sentence for the 2011 false statement of five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

For the 2012 false statement, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, one year of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.

Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.