Former NFL punter Prokop faces tax fraud charges

Updated: January 29, 2009, 5:55 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Former NFL punter Joe Prokop and two Las Vegas-area businessmen face federal conspiracy and fraud charges for allegedly helping people use the Americans with Disabilities Act to avoid paying federal income taxes, prosecutors said Thursday.

Prokop, 48, of Upland, Calif., was arrested Wednesday in Los Angeles and was being held pending arraignment Friday on a 21-count indictment handed up by a federal grand jury in Nevada, said Natalie Collins, a spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Gregory Brower in Las Vegas.

Prokop was a journeyman punter who played for Green Bay, San Diego, the New York Jets, San Francisco, Miami and the New York Giants in seven NFL seasons.

He was identified in an indictment unsealed Wednesday as marketing director of Oryan Management and Financial Services, a company that created a product called Tax Break 2000 and paid a commission to a now-defunct Las Vegas firm, National Audit Defense Network, to sell it.

The indictment alleges Tax Break 2000 was a shopping Web site that let subscribers exploit a provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 by letting them claim a tax credit to offset costs of making facilities accessible to disabled people.

A co-defendant, Alan Rodrigues, 49, of Henderson, is identified as the former general manager of the National Audit Defense Network, which sold Tax Break 2000 from 2002-04.

Rodrigues, who also is identified as a former casino owner and pit boss, was arrested Wednesday and arraigned in federal court in Las Vegas before a magistrate judge. He was allowed to remain free without bond pending trial April 7, Collins said.

An arrest warrant was pending for Weston Coolidge, Collins said. He was identified as a Las Vegas businessman and former National Audit Defense Network chairman and president.

Prokop, Rodrigues and Coolidge each face up to 150 years in federal prison if convicted of the charges against them: conspiracy to defraud the United States, 15 counts of aiding in the preparation of materially false income tax returns, and five counts of mail fraud.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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