By Kevin Deutsch
A former Parkland resident was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and lying on a tax return, federal authorities said Friday.
Douglas Sailors, 71, who now resides in Owensboro, KY, lived in Parkland’s Pine Tree Estates. He formed and operated nonprofit charities for his personal benefit, using them to run various fraud schemes from about 2009 through 2018, according to the Department of Justice.
First, Sailors hand-picked nominees to serve as board of directors and officers of his charities, which helped conceal his participation in the schemes, prosecutors said.
He also had a nominee apply for tax-exempt status from the IRS and secure a nonprofit designation, according to the government.
Next, Sailors chose names that sounded similar to legitimate charities: Breast Cancer Research and Support Fund; Disabled Veterans Services; and United States Firefighters Association, among others, prosecutors said.
Then, according to DOJ, it was time for the scheme to pay off.
Sailors directed the officers and directors of his charities to pay “unreasonable fees” to management companies he controlled, court records allege. Sailors used lawyers and accountants to create opinion letters that falsely stated that the fees paid to him were reasonable, records allege.
Those fees—proceeds of the fraud scheme—were appropriated by Sailors to fund his lavish lifestyle, prosecutors said.
He also diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a charity that was intended to financially support nurses in the Dominican Republic, according to the government.
Finally, Sailors illegally withdrew management fees from a benefit pension plan—to use for his own personal benefit—and failed to report the income on his personal tax returns, records show.
Sailors faces a maximum prison term of 29 years and a fine of $1 million.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation section and the FBI.
- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.