Ex-Portland Olympic pole vaulter gets 3 months in federal prison for fraud


Kory M. Tarpenning, a former U.S. Olympic pole vaulter from Portland, was sentenced to three months in federal prison on Thursday for failing to report about $1.9 million in income and wages over five years while he lived in Monaco.

Tarpenning, a 59-year-old athlete turned entrepreneur, told U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman he “deeply regrets” his behavior and apologized to everyone he affected.

He pledged to ‘fix what I broke’ and asked the judge to treat him with mercy.

Tarpenning did not report the money he received from a commission deal he secured after arranging a sponsorship between Nike, Inc. and Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club SA (“AS Monaco”) ), a professional football team in Monaco. The commission contract was worth more than 2.1 million euros, or about $2.4 million, according to federal prosecutors.

Tarpenning did not report income he received from his stakes in consultancy firms Sirius Group and Sirius Sports Marketing, a company called Tar.CaSAM which operates a Nike store in Monaco, and consultancy firm Downstream Monaco. SAM in Portland, according to prosecutors.

He transferred his business distributions to his personal bank accounts to pay for a second home for Eugene worth $500,000 in 2015 and to pay for his children’s tuition at a private school in Monaco, they said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan D. Knight urged the judge to send Tarpenning to jail for a year and a half for his years-long crime that resulted in a significant loss to the government. Tarpenning pleaded guilty in September to one count of filing a false tax return.

Knight said the recommended sentence took into account that Tarpenning had no priors, his early and consistent acceptance of responsibility, as well as the potential collateral damage a prison sentence would have on Tarpenning’s wife, who is suffering. debilitating disease and dependent on care. from her husband.

Tarpenning also agreed to pay restitution of $670,851, equal to the amount of taxes he underpaid.

Prosecutor Meredith DM Bateman urged the prison sentence to “impress upon future tax evaders that this type of willful, illegal, multi-year conduct will not result in a pat on the wrist.”

Defense attorneys George M. Clarke III and Michelle Kerin argued for a three-year probationary sentence.

Clarke said the crime should be seen as a “single black mark” in his client’s otherwise exceptional life, a life in which Tarpenning devoted his time and energy to charitable causes, including helping young athletes and adults and enabling people with disabilities to enter the labor market.

They asked the judge to consider that Tarpenning immediately “admitted” his crime when contacted by investigators and that he is the primary guardian of his wife and their four sons.

The crimes were committed to support his family, not to line his pockets, his lawyers argued.

They blamed Tarpenning’s misdemeanors on the loss of a big client that put his family in a precarious financial position and culminated in his ‘mistaken choice to underpay’ the federal government and use the money to stabilize his family’s financial situation, according to their sentencing note.

Tarpenning is a marketing consultant and owner of numerous foreign businesses in France and Monaco. His main work is as a brand consultant to American companies wishing to expand their business activities in Monaco. Tarpenning also owns several Monegasque consultancies, including Sirius Group SAM and Sirius Sports Marketing.

In 2014, Tarpenning entered into a sponsorship deal between Monaco professional football club Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club SA, also known as AS Monaco, and Nike European Operations. The deal was valued at 20 million euros over its five-year term, according to court records.

The football club signed a contract with Sirius Group to pay Tarpenning a 9% commission on cash payments from Nike and a 6% commission on sportswear ordered by the team. Between 2014 and 2018, AS Monaco paid Tarpenning at least 2.1 million euros.

Tarpenning transferred income from deals with AS Monaco and other companies to joint personal bank accounts in Monaco and the United States, prosecutors said.

The judge said he considered the criminal concealment of income from the government a less serious offense than stealing money stolen directly from other people. He called the sentencing guidelines “fundamentally flawed” because they make no such distinction.

Mosman said he took into account Tarpenning’s crime-free life and charitable activity, his age, his quick acceptance of responsibility and his cooperation with investigators when crafting the sentence.

Mosman was also unswayed by the prosecution’s argument that Tarpenning was motivated by greed, but instead turned to fraud when his financial situation collapsed.

“The Monaco idea is unusual here and kind of puts a luxury patina on the whole thing which I think if I dig a little deeper doesn’t hold up,” he said. “So I accept that it’s not the worst type of fraud case, where the person buys luxury items and profits from it.”

Mosman said he also considered the potential damage a prison sentence would have on Tarpenning’s family, but noted that he hands out punishments every week that cause all kinds of collateral damage to families and are often more serious.

“It’s kind of a sad irony that very often the people who have the most to lose in jail are the ones who have the most before they go to jail,” Mosman said.

“Sir. Tarpenning’s wife desperately needs him and will suffer greatly without his care, especially in a pandemic where getting outside care is a challenge,” the judge said. “If I want to take this seriously, I have to impose a solution or at least a significant mitigation.”

He rejected the prosecution’s suggestion to reduce a two-year prison sentence by six months.

“I appreciate the government’s fairness…and recognition of this collateral harm,” Mosman said. “It just doesn’t do anything, really, to alleviate much or solve the problem.”

Tarpenning was ordered to voluntarily surrender to the US Marshal’s Service on February 17 to serve his three months in prison, which will be followed by a year of supervised release.

Tarpenning, a native of Portland, represented Team USA in the pole vault at two Summer Olympics, in Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992, where he placed fourth. He holds an MBA from Boston University and lives in Monaco. After his sports career, he moved to Monaco and participated in the opening of the first Starbucks coffee in the country in 2013.


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