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It’s a (Dysfunctional) Family Affair

Today I tell the story of Thomas Parenteau of Hilliard, Ohio. Earlier today, he was sentenced to 22 years in prison for conspiring to commit tax fraud and money laundering, to obstruct justice, and to tamper with witnesses.

His co-conspirators? His wife, his accountant, and his mistress. All four are now serving time.

Mr. Parenteau was in the business of selling luxury homes. Of course, one can conduct such a business with clean hands. Unfortunately, Parenteau’s hands were so dirty that he used those closest to him as rags to share his filthy conduct.

Together, the four falsely inflated the purchase prices of the homes Parenteau built and sold, and gave kickbacks to the buyers after their purchases.

Parenteau, together with his accountant, prepared false income tax returns for the mistress, who received more than $850,000 in fraudulent tax refunds. To where did the refunds go? Back to Parenteau, of course. I’ll venture to guess he spent some of that money on his two children. The mother? His mistress, obviously.

A significant portion of the illicitly obtained funds were used to make premium payments towards several life insurance policies on the life of Parenteau’s father. The court ordered Parenteau to forfeit nearly $15 million, which includes the policies.

Something tells me this family won’t have quite as much fun together behind bars as they did while breaking the law. But families always stick together through both the good and the bad, right? Just ask any parenteau.

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