NEWARK, N.J. (CNBNewsnet) – Two high-ranking members of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ (ICGJC) were arrested today for allegedly evading taxes on millions of dollars in ICGJC funds that they fraudulently diverted to their sham entertainment company and to one of the defendants for his personal use, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jermaine Grant, 43, of Burlington Township, New Jersey, and Lincoln Warrington, 48, of Teaneck, New Jersey, are both charged by indictment with one count of conspiring to defraud the United States. Grant is also charged with five counts of personal income tax evasion. They will appear later this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court.
According to the indictment:
From January 2007 through April 2016, Grant, the leader of ICGJC, and Warrington, a high-ranking treasurer, allegedly used their positions to divert millions of dollars for Grant’s personal use and benefit.
As part of the scheme, Grant and Warrington allegedly created Black Icon Entertainment (BIE) in order to portray Grant as an entertainment industry mogul whose wealth was derived from his professional success. In fact, BIE virtually conducts no legitimate business and is funded almost exclusively by money taken from the ICGJC. Grant and Warrington funneled approximately $2.4 million in ICGJC funds into BIE, which Grant and Warrington concealed on Grant and BIE’s federal income tax returns.
In addition, Grant allegedly siphoned over $2.9 million in income from the ICGJC through multiple personal expenditures, which Grant and Warrington failed to report as income on Grant’s federal individual tax returns. Grant used an ICGJC debit card to purchase home furnishings, luxury items, designer clothing, real estate, trips to Disneyland and other resorts for his family, multiple high-end vehicles, and private school for some of his children, who were chauffeured in a Mercedes Benz paid for with ICGJC funds.
Altogether, Grant and Warrington allegedly failed to report $5,342,920, in income derived from ICGJC from 2007 through 2015, resulting in a tax loss to the United States of $1,982,470.
Each count in the indictment carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, and IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, with the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Ann Mahoney of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division in Newark.
Grant: Gerald Lefcourt Esq., New York
Warrington: Richard Levitt Esq., New York