GRAND RAPIDS, Mich—
Evan Ward Knoll, the founder, owner and former president of Torco Racing Fuels, Knoll Gas Motor Sports and General Sales and Service, was sentenced to 168 months of prison and five years supervised release by the U.S. District Court.
Knoll was requested to pay $900 and restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of $82,933,652.95.
Knoll was indicted on the federal charges in August, 2011. Knoll admitted in his guilty plea to making false “excise tax” refund claims with an intent to defraud the U.S. Treasury and local banks of over a million dollars.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles solidified his office’s commitment to protect the integrity of the U.S. Treasury and to vigorously pursue tax cheats.
“It is shocking how much federal tax money was stolen by this defendant. Evan Knoll lied to banks, accountants, business partners, his employees, the community he lived in and to the Internal Revenue Service for many years,” said U.S. Attorney Miles.
Knoll fraudulently exploited a refund program applicable to the federal “excise tax” of 18.3 cents per gallon on all automotive gasoline sold in the United States. That excise tax primarily funds highway construction. But where the gasoline is used for an “off road” purpose, such as drag-racing, the “off road” user who paid the tax can apply for a federal tax refund.
Knoll filed false IRS forms over many years in which he falsely claimed to have purchased massive quantities of racing fuel, all of which resulted in refund payments of over $80 million.
In addition, Knoll also used his refund scheme to commit bank fraud: he obtained a series of bank loans primarily based on his fraudulently obtained refund checks. When the IRS stopped the scheme, Knoll was unable to make the payments on his bank loans. The banks suffered losses of over $10,000,000.
Evan Knoll, who lives in Van Buren County, plead guilty in July to a tax fraud scheme to the tune of more than 80-million-dollars and investigators say he was after another 20 million when he got caught.
Knoll was known as the “King of Drag Racing” and the former owner of Torco Racing Fuels, Knoll Gas Motor Sports, and General Sales and Services. IRS investigators are calling him one of the biggest scam artists they’ve ever seen.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles, Jr. said it has to do with a gasoline excise tax. Each time we fill up at the gas station, 18 cents per gallon goes to repair the country’s highways.
But in the world of motor sports, the 18 cent tax can be refunded when you do your taxes, as was the case with Knoll.
However, the government said Knoll would greatly exaggerate how much gas he was using when he applied for those federal refunds.
Investigators say the crimes were committed over the course of seven years. An IRS agent found out just in time to save taxpayers an additional 20 million dollars.