Huff sentenced to 12 years in prison

Caneyville native Wilbur Anthony Huff, 53, was sentenced in New York Federal Court last Thursday, June 4 to serve 12 years in prison.

Huff was also ordered to pay more than $108 million in restitution for committing various tax crimes that caused $53 million in losses to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and a fraud that involved the bribery of bank officials, the fraudulent purchase of an insurance company, and the defrauding of insurance regulators and an investment bank.

The restitution will be paid to the victims of Huff’s crimes, including, among others, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the IRS.

Huff was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $10.8 million to the United States.

Huff pleaded guilty in December 2014 before U.S. District Judge Noemi Reice Buchwald, of the Southern District of New York, who imposed the aforementioned sentence.

Buchwald said Huff’s crimes were “truly staggering” and “eye-popping,” and described his conduct as “a living example” of “chutzpah,” which she defined as “shameless audacity and unmitigated gall.”

According to the information, plea agreement, sentencing submissions, and statements made during court proceedings:

Huff controlled numerous entities located throughout the United States and used them to orchestrate a $53 million fraud on the IRS and other schemes that spanned four states, involving tax violations, bank bribery, fraud on bank regulators, and the fraudulent purchase of an insurance company, all over a period of three years.

As part of his crimes, Huff concealed control of his entities by installing other individuals to oversee the companies’ day-to-day functions and to serve as the companies’ titular owners, directors, or officers.

From 2008 to 2010, Huff controlled O2HR, professional employer organization located in Tampa, FL that was paid to manage the payroll, tax, and workers’ compensation insurance obligations of its client companies.

Rather than pay $53 million in taxes that O2HR’s clients owed the IRS and $5 million to Providence Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Providence P and C)—an Oklahoma-based insurance company—for workers’ compensation coverage expenses for O2HR clients, Huff stole the money that his client companies had paid O2HR for those purposes.

Huff also maintained a corrupt relationship with Park Avenue Bank and Charles Antonucci, Sr., the bank’s president and chief executive officer, and Matthew Morris, the bank’s senior vice president.

Huff paid at least $400,000 to Antonucci and Morris in exchange for favorable treatment.

Huff conspired with Morris and Antonucci to falsely bolster Park Avenue Bank’s capital and prevent the bank from being designated as “undercapitalized” by regulators—a designation that would prohibit the bank from engaging in certain types of banking transactions and would subject the bank to a range of potential enforcement actions by regulators.

This was done by Huff, Morris, and Antonucci’s orchestrating a series of fraudulent transactions to make it appear that Park Avenue Bank had received an outside infusion of $6.5 million that appeared to be new capital but was actually part of the bank’s pre-existing capital.

The conspirators also engaged in a series of further fraudulent actions to conceal from bank regulators the true source of the funds.

Huff further conspired with Morris, Antonucci, and others to defraud Oklahoma insurance regulators and others by making material misrepresentations and omissions regarding the source of $37.5 million used to purchase Providence P and C.

After deceiving Oklahoma regulators into approving the sale of Providence P and C, Huff took $4 million of the company’s assets, which he used to continue the scheme to defraud O2HR’s clients.

Antonucci and Morris both pleaded guilty to their roles in Huff’s crimes and are awaiting sentencing.

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