COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A man who won a million dollars on a single lottery ticket falsely claimed gambling losses to avoid taxes in 2015, according to a media release from the IRS.
Mustafa Shalash, of Hillard, Ohio, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of filing a false tax return with the IRS. Shalash was charged by bill of information on October 22, 2021.
According to court documents, in 2015 Shalash won $1 million on a single lottery ticket. He received $710,000, and $290,000 was withheld in taxes, the media release said.
On his 2015 tax return, Shalash reported gambling winnings of $1,069,100 and falsely claimed gambling losses of $1,069,100. But Shalash knew that his actual gambling losses were no more than $300,000, according to the IRS.
The IRS says, to conceal his gambling winnings, Shalash wired $690,000 abroad, including $440,000 to a bank account under his control in Jordan.
From 2014 through 2019, Shalash had as much as 409,000–645,803 Dinar, or approximately $576,077–$909,614, in a foreign bank account in Jordan.
In addition to wiring lottery winnings abroad, Shalash accumulated money in foreign bank accounts by transporting more than $10,000 in funds across the U.S. border on multiple occasions.
On July 8, 2015, Shalash purchased a $19,000 cashier’s check and then flew to Jordan, where he deposited the check into his Jordanian bank account.
In April 2016, Shalash purchased two cashier’s checks for $15,000 and $25,000, then flew to Jordan, where he deposited them in his Jordanian bank account, the media release said.
In none of the cases did Shalash file the required Form 105, Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments. Before he knew he was being investigated, Shalash never filed, as required, a FinCen Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).
On his 2015 tax return, Shalash also failed to disclose that he had a foreign bank account. Shalash reported to his return preparer that he did not have a foreign bank account. As a result of his overstating his gambling losses on his 2015 tax return, Shalash caused a tax loss of $255,967 to the IRS.
Filing a false income tax return carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison and a fine not to
exceed $100,000, the media release concluded.