McClure indicted on charges of federal tax law violations

Updated: October 29, 2008, 4:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ABINGDON, Va. -- Larry McClure, a founding member of Morgan-McClure Motorsports, was indicted Tuesday on charges of federal tax law violations.

An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Abingdon charged McClure with multiple counts of mail fraud, filing a false tax return, obstructing a tax investigation, money laundering and one count of wire fraud.

McLure faces up to 115 years in prison and a $2.75 million fine if convicted.

"We don't think Larry is guilty of what he's been accused of," Morgan-McClure Motorsports co-owner and president Tim Morgan said Wednesday, according to scenedaily.com. "Certainly, I can assure you a lot of it is fluff. It's hard for me to understand where it came from. Ultimately, I think he will be cleared."

An attorney for McClure did not respond to an e-mail, from scenedaily.com, seeking comment

According to the indictment, McClure filed federal tax returns in 2002, 2003 and 2004 that he knew were false because he failed to specify large payments from an unnamed individual in each of those years. The individual allegedly paid McClure for the use of cars in ARCA series races.

The indictment said that during a June 2006 interview with IRS investigators, McClure falsely stated he had borrowed money from the individual and had repaid the loan with a $325,000 check.

The indictment also said that between January 2003 and March 2003, McClure fraudulently claimed he spent $59,852 for the painting of four new show car trailers.

Three Morgan-McClure drivers won the Daytona 500, including Sterlin Marlin in 1994 and 1995. The Abingdon-based race team was formed in 1983 by McClure, his brothers, Ed, Jerry, and Teddy, and business partner Tim Morgan.

The team ran last season with Ward Burton as the driver and finished 47th in points -- a far cry from its heyday when Marlin and Ernie Irvan were running up front and collecting wins. As the sport grew, however, Morgan-McClure struggled to compete with the multi-car organizations. Marlin moved on to a bigger team, sponsor Kodak left and it became impossible for the team to keep up.

The team laid off 28 employees in January and failed to compete in its 26th Daytona 500 in February.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.