Ex-IRS Agent Sentenced For $9M Investment Scheme

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A former Lake View Terrace taxman was headed for federal prison Tuesday after he was sentenced for his role in an nationwide investment scheme.

KNX 1070’s Brian Ping reports George Tannous scammed hundreds of victims out of nearly $9 million.

Tannous, 55, a former agent for the Internal Revenue Service, will serve 33 months in prison and must repay $8.8 million to 218 victims.

He pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of conspiracy and filing a false tax return for his part in a scheme to defraud investors nationwide through the sale of investments in Bidbay.com, AskGT.com and related companies from 1999 through 2003, according to the IRS.

According to the plea agreement, victims were lured by false promises that Bidbay.com would soon be acquired by eBay.com.

Tannous further failed to disclose to investors that one of his co-conspirators was a convicted felon awaiting sentencing on unrelated fraud charges, according to the IRS.

That co-conspirator, De Elroy Beeler Jr., was sentenced to three years in custody in 2002. Upon his release in 2005, Beeler returned to telemarketing and is awaiting sentencing in the related case.

Another defendant, former Oregon congressman Wes Cooley, previously pleaded guilty to a tax charge in the case.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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