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Davoud Jafari, a 72-year-old nightclub proprietor in Washington D.C., has been convicted on charges of bribery, conspiracy, and wire fraud. His conviction stems from a lengthy scheme in which he paid former D.C. Tax Official Vincent Slater to evade substantial business tax payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jafari’s sentencing is scheduled for January 25, 2024, before U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton.

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The announcement of this verdict came from Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney, alongside Wayne A. Jacobs, FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division, Daniel W. Lucas, Inspector General of D.C., and Glen Lee, Chief Financial Officer of D.C.

During the trial, it was revealed that Jafari owned Gevani, Inc., the company behind Zeba Bar and Grill in Columbia Heights. From October 2012 to December 2017, Jafari collected sales and use taxes from patrons at the establishment, amounting to 10 percent of the total expenses for food and beverages. Instead of submitting these taxes to the district every month as required, Jafari wrote a check to his co-defendant, Anthony Merritt, covering only half of the owed taxes.

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Merritt cashed the check and shared the proceeds with Slater, who was then the manager of the District of Columbia’s Office of Tax Revenue’s Adjustment Unit. Slater manipulated records to falsify information for Jafari, assisting in evading collection efforts by other officials from the OTR.

Merritt acknowledged his guilt for all the charges in the indictment on the first day of the trial. Additionally, on June 7, 2023, a separate jury found Merritt guilty of bribery, conspiracy, and wire fraud in connection with a different scheme involving businessman Andre De Moya (who also received a conviction during the trial). Merritt’s sentencing for both cases is set for January 19, 2024. Slater, who was involved in both the Jafari and De Moya schemes, has already pleaded guilty and awaits a sentencing date.

source: The DMV Daily


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D.C. Nightclub Owner Found Guilty Of Bribing Tax Officials  was originally published on