Dec. 28 2016 01:50 PM

Agent for Ingham County’s top tax delinquent convicted in federal court

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 —The registered agent for S&S Acquisitions Group, LLC — the top Ingham County tax foreclosure target — entered a guilty plea for violating federal banking regulations, court records show.

Sameer “Sam” Dua, registered agent for S&S Acquisitions and other limited liability corporations in Michigan, agreed with federal prosecutors on Aug. 29 that he did work with others to structure $314,000 in cash deposits in order to avoid federal bank reporting rules. The federal court plea agreement shows that between March 24 and March 31, 2011, Dua “structured and assisted or caused others to structure 37 currency deposits in amounts under $10,000 each.”

Federal law requires cash deposits of more than $10,000 to be reported by the bank.

As a result of his federal guilty plea, Dua faces two years to 30 months in federal prison and fines of between $10,000 and $95,000. Had he been found guilty, he could have faced up to 10 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.

In addition to facing jail time and hefty fines, Dua’s law license was summarily suspended by both the federal and state courts in October because of the conviction.

Dua was not immediately available for comment.

S&S Acquisitions Group LLC topped Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing’s list of the 10 biggest tax delinquents, which City Pulse published on Wednesday. Entities that Dua represents have made the list several times since City Pulse began publishing it in 2009.

The group landed on the list for having a past due tax bill of $226,383, according to Schertzing. Dua, said a check for $180,000 had been sent to the Treasurer’s office the week before the list was published. Schertzing said today no check from the company has arrived. Dua said the company plans to pay off the remaining delinquent taxes well before the March 31 deadline. Documents from the Treasurer’s Office show the company owns at least 65 properties in Ingham county, and 49 of those had back taxes on them.

Last week, Dua said while the tax debt appears large, it’s actually an indicator of the economic recovery after the 2008 housing bubble burst and the Great Recession hit the U.S.

“If you go back to the crash of 2008, the numbers were in the half-million-dollar range” in owed taxes,” he said. “If you look at it now, you see things are in recovery.”

He said the company had “been through this for several years,” but “we have never lost a property to tax foreclosure. In fact, we’ve bought properties from the tax sales.”

The federal court case is not the only recent legal issue of Dua. Records from 54-A District Court in Lansing show that on Jan. 28, 2015, the city brought 14 misdemeanor charges against him for failing to file income tax returns or to withhold taxes from employees’ checks. Those charges were all dismissed on a motion from the City Attorney’s Office, then under the leadership of Janene McIntyre. The records show Assistant City Attorney Billie Jo O’Berry authorized the criminal charges. Available online records are unclear why the office sought not to prosecute.