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Ex-Qualcomm employee pleads guilty to filing false tax return in Chabad scheme

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Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 21:23:41-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A former Qualcomm employee pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal count of filing a false tax return as part of the wide-ranging tax evasion and donation fraud scheme involving former Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein.

Jason Ellis, 42, of Poway, admitted to evading more than $27,000 in taxes by donating money to nonprofit entities associated with the Chabad, funds which Goldstein returned to Ellis. Prosecutors say that when Ellis made his donations, he requested that Qualcomm match his supposed donations through the company's corporate matching program.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Ellis first made a $1,000 donation in 2008 and Goldstein returned the entirety of the donation to him, while keeping the falsely matched Qualcomm donation. Ellis and Goldstein carried out that arrangement through 2017, though Ellis' donation amounts increased in 2016, as he was promoted at Qualcomm, meaning the company would match up to $5,000 in charitable donations.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said Qualcomm matched a total of $18,000 in donations.

Prosecutors also say Ellis falsely claimed his children's preschool tuition at the Chabad -- which totaled $55,600 -- as a charitable deduction on his taxes.

Ryan Korner, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation's Los Angeles field office, said, "For over 10 years, Mr. Ellis participated in an illegal scheme that not only defrauded his employer but also stole tens of thousands of dollars from the United States. Mr. Ellis's lies and exploitation of charitable giving programs offered by both Qualcomm and the IRS is made more egregious by the length of his involvement."

The case against Ellis mirrors others made against defendants whose donations to the Chabad and other affiliated organizations were funneled back to them.

Nine others have pleaded guilty to involvement in the scheme, including Goldstein, and two defendants have agreed to deferred prosecution agreements.

Ellis is slated to be sentenced Oct. 25, one day before Goldstein's scheduled sentencing date.