Developer Scott Chappelle enters tax evasion plea deal


GRAND RAPIDS – Developer Scott Chappelle has reached a settlement with federal prosecutors and will plead guilty to one count of tax evasion.

Judge Jane Beckering of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan issued a notice of hearing on Tuesday, setting Chappelle’s sentencing for August 2. His guilty plea relates to a June 3, 2020, indictment in which federal authorities charged him with evading payment of $830,000 in taxes. and commit mortgage fraud.

Chappelle deferred his comments to his attorney, Timothy Belevetz, of Ice Miller. A federal judge has yet to rule on the plea deal, Belevetz said Tuesday.

Belevetz issued a statement to the Lansing State Journal and said Chappelle and other real estate professionals struggled with payroll taxes during the Great Recession. He added that Chappelle was committed to maintaining tax compliance “as he has been able to do for most of his career.”

“Mr. Chappelle’s businesses maintained consistent tax compliance for more than a decade, struggled during the economic downturn, but then returned to full tax compliance,” Belevetz wrote. “Mr Chappelle has taken responsibility for his tax issues and is pleased the matter is close to resolution.”

Prosecutors agreed to drop seven other charges against Chappelle.

From 2020:East Lansing businessman charged with lying to evade payment of $830,000 in taxes and mortgage fraud

Count one included:

  • Sign, submit, have submitted IRS Forms 433-A.
  • Making false statements about personal and business income and assets.
  • Buying property and paying personal expenses in case of expressed financial constraint.
  • Buy real estate on behalf of entities instead of yourself.
  • Getting a bank to wire a cash refinance to another bank on behalf of a third party rather than its own.

Business owners file Form 443-A to determine how to satisfy overdue taxes to the IRS, according to the agency.

According to the US Department of Justice press release on Tuesday, the charge included taxes filed for Terra Management Company, Strathmore Development Company Michigan LLC and Terra Holdings LLC. They alleged that Chappelle changed the original company’s names and tax filings, but did not change other operations.

After:Everything we know so far about the Trader Joe’s project in Meridian Township

Chappelle and his companies have developed Red Cedar Flats and a Meridian Township office space off Northwind Drive, among other projects. A related company, Strathmore Real Estate Group, is working on Trader Joe’s current development in Meridian Township.

Scott Chappelle was not listed on the Strathmore Real Estate Group website as of April 26. Belevitz declined to confirm his employment.

Chappelle also spent years trying unsuccessfully to develop the East Lansing intersection of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road, eventually selling the property. The site now houses the Graduate Hotel.

Chappelle could serve a maximum of five years in federal prison. He also faces a three-year period of supervised release, restitution and financial penalties.

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Contact journalist Krystal Nurse at (517) 267-1344or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @KrystalRNurse.

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