Ghun pleads guilty to income tax evasion
By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times
ALBUQUERQUE, February 22, 2013
A man accused of bilking the Navajo Nation out of $2.2 million will be going to prison but not for crimes against the tribe.
Instead Hak Ghun will be going because he failed to pay income taxes on the money he stole from the tribe.
Ghun, 62, of Durango, Colo., pled guilty Thursday to a federal tax evasion charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney's Office. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ghun will be sentenced to prison for a period of 12 to 18 months. He also will be required to pay $249,567 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Ghun was charged on April 10, 2012, in a three-count indictment with evading an aggregate of $367,809 in federal taxes during tax years 2005, 2006 and 2007.
According to the indictment, Ghun was the chief executive officer of BCDS Manufacturing, Inc. (BCDS), a manufacturing company located in Shiprock.
n 2003 and 2004, the Navajo Nation invested economic development funds in BCDS and became the majority owner of the company, and in 2006, obtained a $2.2 million loan for the purpose of expanding the BCDS facility in Shiprock.
The indictment alleged that, between 2005 and 2007, Ghun used BCDS funds to pay his personal expenses and evaded his personal tax obligations on those funds by concealing his conduct from BCDS's corporate accountant and by filing false corporate tax returns on behalf of BCDS.
During Thursday's proceedings, Ghun entered a guilty plea to Count 2 of the indictment charging him with evading federal income taxed in 2006.
In his plea agreement, Ghun admitted that, during 2005, 2006 and 2007, he was the chief operating officer of BCDS, a company that sought military procurement contacts as a source of economic development for the Navajo Nation, and had access to the company's bank accounts.
Ghun also admitted withdrawing funds from BCDS's bank accounts and spending a significant portion of the funds for himself. Ghun used the funds to make support payments to his ex-wife and pay for luxury cars, hotels stays and casino gambling. Ghun acknowledged that the funds he misused were taxable as personal income and that he failed to pay taxes on that income.
More specifically, Ghun admitted receiving gross income of $207,726 in calendar year 2005 and willfully evading approximately $29,197 in federal income taxes. He also admitted receiving gross income exceeding $620,361 in calendar year 2006 and willfully evading approximately $145,156 in federal income taxes, and receiving gross income exceeding $251,435 in taxable income in 2007 and evading approximately $65,214 in taxes.
The Navajo Nation has not received any of the funds back. Although he gave assurances to tribal official numerous times that he was near to opening the business and to start hiring, that never happened.