On March 19, 2012, in Los Angeles, California, George Tannous, a former revenue agent with the Internal Revenue Service, was sentenced to 33 months in prison in relation to a securities fraud scheme that took more than $8 million from hundreds of victims across the country. In addition, Tannous was ordered to pay $8,797,201 in restitution to 218 victims. In May 2008, Tannous pleaded guilty to a two-count Information charging him with conspiracy and subscription to a false tax return. The charges related to Tannous’ participation in a scheme to defraud investors nationwide through material misrepresentations and the concealment of material facts in the sale of investments in Bidbay.com, Inc., AskGT.com, Inc., and related companies from 1999 through 2003. Tannous and three co-conspirators solicited victims to purchase unregistered stock in Bidbay.com, Inc. and several related companies. Bidbay.com was in the business of developing and marketing an internet auction website. According to the plea agreement, victims were lured by false statements that Bidbay.com would soon be acquired by an international known internet auction company. Tannous failed to disclose that Bidbay.com and the related companies paid sales commissions of up to 50% percent to telemarketers who solicited investors. In 2001, Tannous personally received nearly $3 million in investor funds that he failed to disclose to the IRS.
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