The former head of an Idaho construction firm has been sentenced to five years in prison on charges related to false tax filings and fraud, which helped the firm to stay eligible for key federal programs and strengthen its market position, the Dept. of Justice says.
Elaine Martin, 69, ex-president of MarCon Inc., a Meridian, Idaho, firm that installed highway guardrails and concrete barriers, pleaded guilty on Jan. 11 in federal district court in Boise to filing a false tax return, DOJ said. On the same day, B. Lynn Winmill, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Idaho, sentenced Martin to 24 months in prison for the tax charges and resentenced her for 60 months for fraud convictions. The sentences are concurrent.
According to a plea agreement, Martin’s fraudulent tax returns and false statements about her finances led MarCon to stay eligible for federal disadvantaged-business enterprise (DBE) status. That status, in turn, gave the firm an edge over non-DBEs and helped MarCon to have a “virtual monopoly” in its regional market from 2000 to 2006, the agreement said.
Winmill directed Martin to pay the Internal Revenue Service and the Idaho Dept. of Transportation $131,400 in restitution, plus $22,860 in court costs and a $3.1-million judgment—sums DOJ said Martin paid.
In September 2013, a federal jury convicted Martin of 22 counts, including tax and fraud violations. In February 2014, Winmill sentenced her to 24 months for one set of counts and 84 months for others. Last Aug. 7, an appeals court vacated the sentence and tax convictions and remanded the case to district court for, among other things, resentencing on the fraud charges.
MarCon’s assets were sold after the 2013 court action, and the firm is no longer in business, said Wayne Hammon, Idaho Associated General Contractors CEO.