Old Saybrook man to go on trial in tax evasion case

Old Saybrook businessman David Adams is scheduled to go on trial Tuesday in U.S. District court for filing false tax returns and willfully attempting to evade paying taxes on millions of dollars over a period of several years.

The government alleges Adams, 56, owes more than $4.6 million in taxes, penalties and interest.

Adams is the founder of Flowers USA and another online floral business, both of which he has sold. He is a principal of Saybrook Realty Partners, which has an interest in the Saybrook Junction plaza near the town's train station.

His alleged tax crimes have been the subject of federal grand jury investigations in May and December 2016. He is charged with filing a false tax return for the 2009 tax year, filing a false tax return and tax evasion for the 2011 tax year, filing a false tax return and tax evasion for the 2012 tax year, and attempting to interfere with the administration of the tax laws over a period of several years.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant is presiding over the trial, which will take place at Hartford's federal courthouse. By agreement of the parties, attorneys for the government and Adams will preview their cases during opening statements to the jury. The government may opt to provide information on Adams' lifestyle, including his ownership of several homes and other property, and is expected to present witnesses who will testify about business records and other documents.

Assistant U.S. attorneys Susan L. Wines and Jennifer Laraia are prosecuting.

Norwich attorney Drzislav "Dado" Coric is representing Adams, along with attorney William T. Koch Jr. of Lyme.

Court documents indicate the government will be able to present information to the jury about Adams' prior convictions for willful failure to file tax returns for tax years 1984 and 1985. Despite a last-minute effort by the defense, the judge has ruled that the government also can introduce a stipulated plea agreement that Adams signed in December, admitting to committing tax crimes, before he backed out of the proposed plea deal.

Adams is accused of filing a tax return for 2009 claiming he paid $550,000 in estimated tax payments when in fact he paid only $425,000.

In 2011 and 2012, he's accused of failing to tell the accountant who prepared his tax return that he received $4.7 million for selling one of his businesses and that he paid more in estimated taxes than he actually had. That same year, he allegedly told an Internal Revenue Service officer who was trying to collect back taxes that his efforts to obtain money to pay his back taxes had not been "panning out."

In 2012, the government alleges Adams failed to declare the $4.7 million he received and falsely stated he paid $220,000 in estimated taxes, when if fact, he had only paid $100,000.

In 2013, the government alleges Adams failed to tell the accountant he received $1.3 million during the year and filed a false tax return stating he had $0 taxable income.

The government also alleges that in 1982, 1984, and continuing from 1996 through 2016, the defendant undertook a course of conduct to inhibit the IRS's efforts to collect back taxes from him.

k.florin@theday.com

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