Businessman Adams (pictured here) to serve more than 7 years for tax evasion
Published November 27. 2018 2:43PM | Updated November 28. 2018 12:03PM
By Karen Florin Day staff writer, email@example.com KFLORIN
Businessman David M. Adams was sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison Tuesday for tax evasion during a lengthy sentencing hearing at which his former accountant and members of his family addressed U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant.
A U.S. Marshal handcuffed Adams, 58, in the Hartford courtroom after the judge denied his request to turn himself in at a later date to begin serving the sentence. Adams’ sentencing had already been delayed for months while he hired an accountant to review his tax liability and more recently because of a health problem.
Bryant imposed three years of supervised release to follow the 90-month prison term — of which Adams is required to serve at least 85 percent — and ordered him to repay the government $4,872,172.91, which includes penalties and interest. While on supervised release, he would be required to make payments of at least $3,000 a month, the judge said.
Adams, whose East Lyme estate was sold for $1.8 million at a foreclosure auction last month, brought to the sentencing a deed quitclaiming his vacation home in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod, to the government. Attorney William T. Koch Jr. said Adams had signed the deed Monday night. Adams has also offered to help teach business skills to people enrolled in the federal Support Court Program for those who struggle with drugs and alcohol.
Adams apologized to the court, his family, the Internal Revenue Service and his former accountant, Thomas J. Satalino, saying he wished he had resolved his tax issues “before things got so complicated.”
“I’m very sorry it got this far,” he said. “I have no excuses. It’s all on me. I’m sorry, your honor.”
Adams had pleaded guilty on the eve of trial in October 2017 to two counts of tax evasion, three counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, and one count of attempting to interfere with the administration of the IRS laws. According to the government, he filed false tax returns or failed to declare income for the tax years 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.
A native of East Lyme, he had started two successful internet flower businesses, sold both for more than $12 million and had been involved in other business enterprises. He had previously been convicted of a tax crime in 1982 and of credit card fraud in 1996, serving no prison time for either offense.
In her sentencing remarks, the judge listed myriad government services funded by American tax dollars, from traffic signals to the regulation of pharmaceuticals, the work of the Immigrations & Customs Enforcement Agency and even “the lights in this room.” Bryant said nonpayment of taxes by some results in the increase of taxes for all. She said while choosing not to pay, Adams had lived in luxury homes, owned luxury vehicles and drunk champagne at exclusive resorts.
“He’s lived a lifestyle more lavish than any defendant who has sat before me in my more than 20 years on the bench,” she said. “He’s wracked up a tax liability in the highest echelons. His criminal history understates the persistent pattern of criminal conduct over a period of decades.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines introduced three of the four collection agents from the IRS who had been assigned to Adams’ case and said he had engaged them in persistent dishonesty and gamesmanship, repeatedly stalled them, led them on wild goose chases and told them he was going to send a payment.
“He hid income,” Wines said. “He had the money to pay this at any time.”
Wines said Adams had misled his personal accountant about his tax history and the timing of payments and that, even after he pleaded guilty, had maintained a “secret” bank account containing the proceeds of a life insurance policy on his late wife, Sandra Adams.
Satalino, Adams’ former accountant, told the judge his trust in Adams began to waiver in 2013 and was fully shattered in 2015 when a grand jury was convened to hear his case.
Satalino said he was unaware of Adams’ past with the IRS and disparaged him to the agency. Satalino said Adams cost him $14,000 in financial losses, sleepless nights and canceled family vacations. Satalino said he had not been paid the $4,500 Adams owed him for the last tax return he had prepared.
Adams’ family members conceded he had made mistakes but characterized him as an exceptional person while asking the judge for leniency. His daughter, Avery, a senior at the University of Connecticut, said that after her mother became ill, and then died, her father was “one parent playing the role of two with a grace that not a million people have.”
“He’s the reason me and my brothers are able to be productive members of society,” she said.
David Adams’ sister, Carol Adams, said he had set the standard for hard work, mowing 60 lawns a week while all other kids were going to the beach, bringing family members into his businesses and treating his employees well, with stacks of pizza and pots of coffee during long days.
She said the family needed Adams, who still has much to offer.
“If they’re dangerous, you put them behind bars,” she said.
The judge said she did not see Adams as a demon.
“We enjoy the benefits of our talents, but must also endure the consequences of our failures,” Bryant said.
David M. Adams seeks to remove prosecutor, further delay sentencing
Judge Bryant promptly denied the motion.
The prosecution has kept a close watch on Adams’ finances and contended in October that he had used a secret bank account to pay off the mortgage of a vacation home in Mashpee, Mass., that he had used to secure a real estate bond. The property was in foreclosure.
“I did own expensive cars,” he wrote. “I never owned a ‘fleet of cars.’ Sensationalism.”
David Adams released one more time prior to tax evasion sentencing
David Adams aka David M. Adams will be sentenced to years in prison.
Published October 16. 2018 7:19PM | Updated October 17. 2018 6:01PM
The 57-year-old businessman has managed to delay his sentencing on tax evasion charges for a year, but U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant told him Tuesday that she intends to impose the sentence on Nov. 27.
His attorneys, William T. Koch Jr. and Drzislav “Dado” Coric said they plan to argue for a 46-month sentence, which is a downward departure from the guidelines. Koch said he also plans to argue that the amount of restitution Adams owes should be approximately $2.6 million rather than the $4.8 million the government is seeking, due to added interest and penalties.
Adams’ most recent sentencing delay was the result of renal failure that resulted in his hospitalization two days before his scheduled sentencing on Oct. 3. On that day, the judge ordered him to appear in court within 24 hours of his release from the hospital. Released on Friday, Adams appeared in court Tuesday with hospital discharge orders indicating he has to receive four hours of dialysis three times a week.
Assistant United States Attorney Susan L. Wines has filed motions to revoke the $500,000 real estate bond that Adams had posted following his indictment using his vacation home in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod. Wines filed the first motion to revoke bond after the government discovered that the home was in foreclosure, but a federal magistrate denied it after learning there was still $600,000 in equity on the $1.2 million property.
In her most recent motion, Wines said Adams had used $200,000 from a bank account he had failed to disclose to the prosecution. The account contained the $500,000 proceeds of an insurance policy that Adams said he had taken out on his ex-wife, Sandra Adams, in the 1990s. Mrs. Adams died in March, and Adams said he had not disclosed the funds because he had completed his financial affidavit prior to his ex-wife’s death.
The prosecutor noted though that Adams had taken the funds from a liquid bank account that could be seized by the government and put them on a home that is held by a trust on which the government has been unable to place a lien.
Wines said bank records indicate that from June to September, Adams spent about $75,000 a month on “resorts, restaurants, golf clubs and the like.” She said his bank account listed expenditures to the Water’s Edge Resort in Westrbrook, a Jaguar dealer, a pool service and the Goodspeed Opera House, and that there was nothing in his financial affidavit indicting he had the ability to access that much cash.
Wines said she had talked to U.S. Marshals who told her that Adams could be housed by the Connecticut Department of Correction and provided with the necessary medical care while awaiting sentencing. Attorney Koch objected to that plan, citing the case of a man in custody in Utah who died because he wasn’t provided dialysis.
Judge Bryant ordered Koch to produce Adams’ medical records prior to his sentencing so that they could be turned over to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
She said she was releasing him only because of his medical condition. The judge said she considered Adams dishonest and his spending habits when determining he is a flight risk and imposing the additional cash bond.
“Anyone who needs $75,000 a month to live finds the prospect of a prison cell daunting,” Bryant said.
Editor’s Note: This version corrects the recommended term of imprisonment for businessman David Adams, which is 78 to 97 months under federal sentencing guidelines.
Flower entrepreneur’s tax evasion sentencing delayed due to hospitalization
Adams, 57, of Old Saybrook faces years or even decades in prison when he appears before U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant for sentencing. He pleaded guilty in October 2017 to two counts of tax evasion, three counts of making and subscribing a false tax return and one count of attempting to interfere with the administration of Internal Revenue Service laws.
The sentencing initially was scheduled for January, postponed to March and then marked over until Wednesday as a certified public accountant reviewed Adams’ finances to determine if he does in fact owe $4.8 million in back taxes, penalties and interest, as the government claims.
Judge Bryant, learning of a new claim by the government that Adams failed to disclose a bank account containing $500,000 in life insurance proceeds, ordered him to appear within 24 hours of his release from the hospital.
The sentencing may not even occur that day, depending on what the judge learns about Adams’ medical condition, but the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines, will argue that Adams’ bond should be revoked based on Adams’ failure to disclose the bank account and a $200,000 payment he had made from the account to pay off his home on Cape Cod.
Wines said Wednesday that Adams’ “shell game” with the government continues and that statements he made on a financial affidavit he submitted appear to be “either lies, half-truths or some combination of both.”
The judge had ordered Adams’ lawyers, William T. Koch Jr. and Drzislav “Dado” Coric, to appear in court as scheduled Wednesday. She said from the bench that, given a history of “questionable circumstances” that prevented Adams from attending court proceedings, she wanted credible information concerning his medical condition.
Koch called on Adams’ brother, Dan Adams, to explain what had happened. The brother said Adams’ girlfriend had texted him that Adams’ blood pressure was high, he was sweating, red in the face and had a rapid heart rate. She said both she and their neighbors tried to convince Adams to go to the hospital but he refused. Dan Adams said he drove to his brother’s house and convinced him to go to a medical clinic in Guilford, where the staff performed tests and indicated they were transferring him to Yale-New Haven Hospital by ambulance.
Adams’ blood condition was so bad, he needed dialysis, and his heart stopped at Yale, according to Koch. He said Wednesday that Adams would be hospitalized at least two more days.
“You can fake a lot of things, but one thing you can’t fake is needing blood dialysis,” Coric said after court.
Judge Bryant said if the hospital releases Adams to his home and not a rehabilitation facility, there’s no reason why he can’t sit in court.
“Given Mr. Adams’ history of obfuscation and avoidance, he is to be in this court within 24 hours or as soon thereafter as the court can accommodate him,” she said. Knowing hospitals usually discharge people in late morning or midafternoon, the court will “wedge him in” that day or the following day, Bryant said.
The government alleges Adams has engaged them in a decadeslong cat-and-mouse game, first by underreporting his income and underpaying his taxes, then by delaying his prosecution once he was arrested and pleading guilty at the 11th hour before his trial was to begin.
Then came the delayed sentencing hearings.
The latest offense, which Wines said the government learned of late last week, is that he failed to disclose a bank account labeled the Sandra Adams Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust. Adams and his wife Sandra divorced in 2013, and she died in March 2018, according to public records. Adams is the trustee of the life insurance account but it is unclear who are the beneficiaries. Though he was supposed to report any financial transactions above $10,000 to his probation officer, the prosecution learned late last week that he had used about $201,000 to pay off the home in Mashpee, Mass., on Cape Cod, according to court documents and testimony.
The government has liens on the Cape Cod home and on Adams’ custom-built estate in East Lyme, which Adams has been renting out lately for events.
At the sentencing, Adams’ lawyers plan to argue that the amount of restitution he owes should be approximately $2.6 million rather than the $4.8 million the government is seeking, due to added interest and penalties.
Adams had founded USA Flowers, a national operation, from a shop in Groton and sold it in 2002 for $6 million, according to court documents. He later opened an Internet flower business that he sold in 2006 for another $6 million gain. He also had an interest in the leases on the businesses at the Saybrook Junction marketplace on Boston Post Road.
In fashioning the sentence, the judge will consider sentencing guidelines estimated in one court document at 53 to 61 months in prison based on several factors, including the offenses and Adams’ prior convictions. His attorneys will argue for a sentence of 46 months, which is below the guidelines.
According to court records, Adams avoided imprisonment in 1986, when he was convicted of using his flower business to submit hundreds of fraudulent credit card sales online, and in 1992, when he was convicted of willful failure to file tax returns for 1984 and 1985.
His attorneys have requested that following his sentencing, Adams be allowed to turn himself in, or “self surrender,” to a federal prison after taking care of family issues. The government objects.
Flower entrepreneur’s lavish lifestyle, prior convictions described in sentencing documents
Published March 14. 2018 12:35PM | Updated March 14. 2018 8:23PM
By Karen Florin Day staff writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
A federal prosecutor is urging a judge to send businessman David M. Adams to prison for a long time, asserting in a sentencing document that he is “one of the biggest federal tax cheats in Connecticut history.”
Adams, 57, of East Lyme pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in October to six tax-related crimes, and was scheduled for sentencing last week. His attorney, William T. Koch Jr., was on trial elsewhere and was granted an extension. Adams’ sentencing is now set for May 30 before Judge Vanessa L. Bryant in Hartford. He faces decades in prison.
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 Old Saybrook train station.
In a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan L. Wines says Adams has been a “tremendous drain on federal resources for 20 years” who appears to have no intention of ever repaying the government.
As of October 2016, he owed more than $4.7 million in back taxes, interest and penalties for tax years 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012, according to the government, and interest and penalties have continued to accrue since that time.
Attorney Drzislav “Dado” Coric said he would be arguing on behalf of Adams at the sentencing hearing.
“It’s going to be a very unique and interesting sentencing, both from a factual and legal standpoint,” Coric said Wednesday evening. “While people may not be able to put all the pieces together in a coherent manner at this point, the hope is that after sentencing they’ll see this may not be what it seems on the surface.”
Wines said Adams lived a lavish lifestyle. She described a decadeslong cat-and-mouse game that he played with the government, evading taxes while building a luxury estate, named “Orchard Manor,” on 40 acres on Scott Road in East Lyme, and more recently, paying $10,000 a month for a beach property “right on the point in the tony Fenwick Borough of Old Saybrook.” Adams filled an 11-car garage at the East Lyme home with a Maserati, Range Rover, Land Rover and other luxury vehicles, according to the government, and spent tens of thousands of dollars vacationing in five-star hotels.
“Adams violated the tax laws in almost every conceivable way — evading the assessment of millions of dollars in income, falsely overstating payments, causing the filing of multiple false tax returns, willfully evading payment and engaging in an exhausting obstruction of the IRS’s efforts to collect from him,” Wines wrote.
The prosecutor referenced readers’ comments about lenient sentences for white collar criminals left on a Day article as she urged the judge to impose a lengthy sentence.
“A significant term of imprisonment would promote respect for the law and rebut the sense that privileged defendants are treated with disproportionate leniency,” Wines wrote.
Adams’ attorney contends in a sentencing memorandum submitted to the court that Adams’ unpaid taxes amount to $2.6 million because the government incorrectly added penalties and interest to some of the charges. Koch is requesting that the judge impose a sentence of 46 months, which is below federal sentencing guidelines.
Koch argues in the memorandum that Adams has “been a consistent annuity for the U.S. Treasury” who has paid a significant amount of taxes even though he owes a significant amount in taxes, interest and penalties. Koch wrote that a tax expert is calculating how much Adams has paid to the government.
Adams never committed a violent or drug crime, did not steal from anyone and made all of his money legitimately, Koch wrote.
“Mr. Adams is not like the Bernie Madoffs or Martin Frankels of this world who made excessive amounts of money illegally/illegitimately, by stealing it from innocent people,” the memorandum says. “The victim in this case is the Plaintiff, the United States government. There will not be any victim like a widow, orphan or retiree in court telling Your Honor how they suffered financially due to Mr. Adams.”
According to Koch, Adams started a lawn business at age 13, opened his first flower store while attending college and built Flowers USA into a national operation from his shop in Groton. He sold that business in 2002 for a gain of $6 million and opened an Internet flower business three years later after a noncompete clause expired. He sold that business in 2011 for another $6 million gain.
Adams’ two prior convictions will be taken into account at his sentencing. In 1986, he was convicted of using his floral business to submit hundreds of fraudulent credit card sales online, according to the government. He was sentenced to probation and community service, fined $10,000 and ordered to liquidate two pieces of real estate, a Jaguar and a Mercedes Benz.
In 1992, he was convicted for willful failure to file tax returns for tax years 1984 and 1985. He was sentenced to three months in prison and five years’ probation and ordered to repay the government.
The government sentencing memorandum indicates that, “while on probation, Adams continued his scheme of obstructing the IRS’ efforts to collect back taxes from him by, for example, bouncing checks to the IRS, failing to pay amounts owed, and giving other false information to IRS collections officers.”
7 months ago
He stiffed a lot of good and honest working people who built that house. Hiring people with no intention of paying them is a special kind of evil. People with children, who pay taxes and have employees. Its not surprising to me that someone who represents this guy would say it’s a victimless crime. There is no remorse.
7 months ago
David Adams does not have an ounce of empathy nor will he ever. “I have a little problem” is what he says, Really? Wow, this guy is unbalanced.
7 months ago
Huh. I always wondered who owned that house. I guess Karma is catching up with this guy…
7 months ago
I am commenting at the request of my husband who was one of Adams victims. We hope the prosecutors read and consider this:
“There will not be any victims… in court telling Your Honor how they suffered financially due to Mr. Adams.”
This is a lie. Ask how many contractors at Orchard Manor he failed to pay completely or not at all to fund his lifestyle and then string them along saying he was going to pay until it was too late to file a mechanics lien. There were a fair number; we know most of them.
My husband plowed Orchard Manor and Adams asked him make sure the driveway was kept open because it was rented for use as a retreat/rehab for $14K/month. I checked the statement and on at least 6 occasions he plowed 2-3-4Xs in one day because of blowing/drifting. Adams failed to pay the plow bill for the season which included his grandfather’s house as well
Mr. Koch, while we wouldnt call it suffering, the loss of $9K did impact our finances.
Adams is what entitlement looks like: Take and keep as much as you can get; respect for others doesn’t apply. Any restitution should include everyone he cheated over the years.
7 months ago
Mr. Spellman, Al Sharpton is not a Congressman. He has run several times for various political positions but has never won. Of course, his unpaid taxes are another matter.
7 months ago
30 years ago, as a bank employee (Bank of Southeastern Ct) I remember every Friday his “business” account was constantly overdrawn and his poor employees paychecks would bounce…somehow at the 11th hour he would come and make his deposit and even that time I know the bank stuck its neck out for him in order for his employees to get paid even when he was holding a negative balance on his payroll account. He was trouble back then.
7 months ago
Set an example.
7 months ago
He has not changed since the time he operated as Adams Flowers in Groton
7 months ago
Absolutely right JS!
7 months ago
Koch: “Adams never committed a violent or drug crime, did not steal from anyone and made all of his money legitimately, Koch wrote. … the memorandum says. “The victim in this case is the Plaintiff, the United States government.'”
Was all this written with a straight face? Just whom do you think the United States government IS? It’s “we, the people,” you dolt! WE are the victims; he stole from US. You’re trying to make this client sound like some sort of model citizen because no “widow, orphan or retiree” will be in court pleading how they’ve suffered financially. What a joke! He should have paid his taxes like the rest of us do instead of buying an obscene amount of vehicles and wildly spending on whatever suited his fancy.
Throw the accounting books at him and make him do the time.
7 months ago
Emcourtney, sorry, I cant buy the bad accountant spin. Any good accountant has their clients sign a statement about liability back on the client from data provided by client. Classic example of garbage in, garbage out. The fact is he has always been a cheat. Dont expect him to change.
7 months ago
Once a scumbag, always a scumbag!! Throw the book at him.
7 months ago
Anyone can be successful in business if you give yourself a leading head start of not paying all of your expenses, which include chipping in to your fair share of taxes. Give him jail time, and then let him out early for good behavior if he can contribute his business “genius”, free of cost, to get the state of CT out of debt.
7 months ago
Text book example of who you are rather than the impact of damage done – echoes of Martha Stewart wearing Orange is the new Black for transgressions that others saw fine, restitution, probation as consequences for.
Meanwhile Congressman Al Sharpton votes in Congress owing millions to IRS, local scum Gonzales and Boitellier will walk in 24 months for having killed 17 year old
Olivia Elizabeth Roark.
Federal prosecution and judiciary are disgraces.
7 months ago
13 months, tops. This guys principal crime is that he was too cheap to hire a good accountant. If he had done what Stanley Tools did and Pifizer is doing, ie. setting up an Irish company to hold IP and license it back to himself, he could have eliminated all his US taxable profit and be scott-free today and still enjoying his lavish lifestyle. Some guys are just too cheap for their own good.
7 months ago
How many people cheat on there income taxes HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN SHOULD CAST THE FIRST STONE.
7 months ago
kamotho: I am so tired of that lame connection.
I am a firm believer of the rule of law. ALL laws should be enforced. If they are outdated or immoral, then it is incumbent upon Congress to change them. Until then, the President and gov’t agencies are sworn to uphold them. Trump has been putting the ball back into Congresses lap where it belongs and they have been side-stepping their responsibility because it is politically easier to make Trump the bad cop.
Trump is doing what Presidents before him did not have the cahonas (sp) to enforce.
Demand more from Congress.
7 months ago
Next step for this guy could be an appointment in the trump regime. He would fit right in and there are a few openings available right now.
7 months ago
We will see but the attorney’s arguments are horrible. I do believe though, his litany of reasoning could go a long way in deciding whether the Board of selectman in Stonington to vote against use of snow blowers between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
My god… did the flower guy not have any $$$ left to pay for a competent attorney? Ooops… that could be a second trial forthcoming based on poor representation.
7 months ago
Agreed, Wylie nailed it.
Shame on you, Attorney Koch.
7 months ago
Wylie, that was quite possibly one of the best comments I have ever read on The Day!
7 months ago
His lawyer argued…”Mr. Adams is not like the Bernie Madoffs or Martin Frankels of this world who made excessive amounts of money illegally/illegitimately, by stealing it from innocent people,” says the memorandum. “The victim in this case is the Plaintiff, the United States government. There will not be any victim like a widow, orphan or retiree in court telling Your Honor how they suffered financially due to Mr. Adams.”
When you steal from the US gov’t you steal from your fellow citizens that you claim to have not harmed.
Somebody else had to pick up the slack, or somebody or institution did not receive a gov’t benefit because of his unpaid taxes.