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Charge: Ex-Seattle soccer star amassed $1.1 million in tax fraud scheme

Dion Earl (Photo credit: Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff's Office)

SEATTLE - A former Seattle soccer star accused of sexually assaulting two women in Arizona has now been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly engaging in a massive tax fraud scheme that netted him more than $1 million, according to U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes.

Federal court documents say Dion L. Earl, 46, used false documents to lie about his income, the amount of tax dollars withheld by employers and his mortgage deductions, so that he could claim huge tax refunds.

Earl, a soccer star at Seattle Pacific University in the 1990s, bought the Seattle Impact FC professional indoor soccer club franchise during the course of the tax fraud scheme, from 2008 to 2014, court documents say.

Earl was indicted Wednesday, but his arraignment has been postponed because he is currently jailed in Arizona on charges that he sexually assaulted two women, aged 18 and 21, while they baby-sat his children at his home in Mesa, Arizona. Local prosecutors also are investigating whether he may have assaulted women in Washington state.

According to the federal tax fraud indictment, Earl was able to obtain huge tax refunds by claiming that he made six-figure salaries working for car dealers in the Puget Sound region, and as the owner-operator of Dion Earl’s Total Soccer & Tennis Camps.

For example, the indictment alleges that in 2012, Earl claimed on his tax return that he made $880,000 working for five different car dealers. Earl claimed the dealers withheld more than $330,000 of his wages for taxes, and he also falsely claimed mortgage interest payments on four different properties, reducing his tax liability, the indictment says.

With the scheme, Earl got a tax refund of $329,198 in that one year alone. In reality, he made less than $80,000 that year, had no tax payments withheld and paid limited mortgage interest, court documents say.

The indictment also alleges he continued to make false claims and provide false information to the government even after the IRS began auditing him.

During the seven years of the scheme, Earl sought $1.6 million in fraudulent tax refunds and was paid approximately $1.1 million, according to the court records.

Earl is also charged in connection with false income information he submitted to Key Bank in 2008 to qualify for a home equity line of credit, court documents say.

The five-count federal indictment charges Earl with three counts of false statement on tax returns, corrupt endeavor to impede administration of the Internal Revenue laws and false statement on a loan application.

If convicted of the federal charges, Earl faces up to 10 years in prison.

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