Jury convicts former owner of Gourmet Express in $3.9 million tax fraud

A federal jury Wednesday convicted a former owner of  frozen food company Gourmet Express for his role in a $3.9 million tax fraud scheme.

Robert Warren Scully, 70, was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud. They acquitted him of three tax evasion counts. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors alleged that between April 2001 and July 2009, Scully brought in his nephew, Kevin Scully,  as a minority partner after one of the founders left and that the Scullys used shell companies in Thailand to inflate the prices Gourmet Express paid for shrimp and other ingredients. They also siphoned off a cut of those excess costs, or profits, but did not declare them on taxes, the prosecutors alleged.

The IRS alleged that Robert Scully had an agreement with his sister-in-law, who lives in Thailand and controls one of the companies, that benefited her and the Scullys.

Kevin Scully, 48, who was indicted with his uncle, killed himself in 2013 at his home in Illinois.

Robert Scully’s lawyer, Mike McCrum, told jurors that his client simply tried to rescue a company that was in serious financial trouble: In 2000, it lost more than $500,000.