Amodeo set to plead guilty in Mirabilis tax-fraud case
Sentinel Staff Writer
September 23, 2008
Frank L. Amodeo, the Orlando financial wizard who built Mirabilis Ventures Inc. into a multimillion-dollar conglomerate, signed a plea deal Monday and walked into court, ready to admit he was guilty.
But a federal magistrate would not accept his plea.
So Amodeo is to return to the same courtroom today. This time, U.S. Magistrate Gregory J. Kelly has indicated he will listen to the details.
In the plea deal, made public Monday, Amodeo admits to being one of the biggest employment-tax cheats in the history of the Internal Revenue Service. He has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy, tax fraud and lying to obstruct an IRS investigation.
He could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in prison.
Amodeo, 48, puts the total owed the federal government at $172 million. Federal prosecutors, including Assistant U.S. Attorney I. Randall Gold, say the amount is just under $182 million. The total is something a judge will settle later.
Also to come later: Amodeo's sentence. But the plea deal spells out what Amodeo admits to doing and how he did it.
He assembled a group of companies, many involved in payroll services, and intentionally hung onto employee withholding taxes that should have gone to the IRS. He then used that money to buy more companies, many of them financially distressed.
Before Mirabilis began to unravel in 2006, it had become a conglomerate of approximately 70 companies.
Amodeo's goal, according to the plea deal, was to grow Mirabilis into a publicly traded company. Once that happened, he'd repay the IRS.
Amodeo was in court Monday. He said nothing to the judge, but one of his psychiatrists testified that Amodeo is mentally ill and delusional.
Dr. Jeffrey Danziger said Amodeo is bipolar, spent two weeks in a mental hospital in Massachusetts and has gotten better. He is competent to enter a plea but still thinks he eventually will achieve world-economic domination, Danziger said.
Amodeo realizes, Danziger testified, that he may spend several years in prison. He hopes it will be just five years, the psychiatrist said.
The former tycoon has cooperated with authorities for months. They already have seized, or Amodeo has surrendered, at least $13 million worth of property, including a Mercedes-Benz, BMW, jet and Harley Davidson.
How much the federal government can recapture was not clear Monday, but in the deal, Amodeo admits he owes at least $172 million and agrees to make full restitution.
A federal grand jury last month indicted Amodeo on 27 counts.
He could face a maximum of 370 years if he went to trial and were convicted on all counts.
Rene Stutzman can be reached at email@example.com or 407-650-6394.
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