Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces 16-Month Sentence for $4.5 Million Fraud Scheme
SACRAMENTO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that Larry Harmon, 48, of Granite Bay, was sentenced Tuesday to 16 months for a scheme to defraud the state Board of Equalization out of more than $4.5 million in fraudulent claims for tax returns on defaulted car loans.
The case was referred to the Attorney General’s Special Crimes Unit for investigation after an auditor with the California Board of Equalization (BOE) noticed the suspicious claims. Harmon had submitted thousands of fraudulent requests with BOE that, if successful, would have resulted in losses of more than $4.5 million.
“Defrauding state government is equivalent to stealing taxpayer dollars,” Attorney General Harris said. “I applaud the cooperation between my office and the Board of Equalization to stop this scheme before any losses occurred.”
“Those who cheat and defraud our tax system impose a selfish and unfair tax increase on their fellow Californians,” said Board of Equalization Member George Runner. “It’s only right that they be brought to justice.”
Harmon, who was sentenced Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court to 16 months in county jail, was arrested in January on 10 felony counts of false claims and forgery. Harmon formerly managed investments for several NBA players, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and Ben Gordon of the Charlotte Bobcats.
As owner of Larry Harmon & Associates, Harmon represented financial institutions seeking sales tax refunds from the BOE. A lender is entitled to submit a refund request to BOE when an individual defaults on a car loan and the vehicle is repossessed.
DOJ agents determined that Harmon created fraudulent bank documents and loan papers, along with a shell company called Premier Capital Finance. He submitted these documents to BOE to request refunds for non-existent banks, including Premier Capital Finance. He also fabricated letters from his attorney attesting to the validity of his paperwork.
At the time of the search warrant and arrest, DOJ and BOE agents discovered additional fraudulent documents that indicated he was in the process of creating two additional false claims, each for more than $5 million.
The Board of Equalization and the Attorney General’s Bureau of Investigation routinely combine resources to investigate fraud and tax schemes perpetrated against the State of California as part of a joint effort to combat underground economy crimes.