NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR team owner pleads guilty Monday

A NASCAR team owner pleaded guilty Monday to defrauding the government of more than $34 million in taxes.

Gene Haas, the 54-year-old owner of Oxnard-based Haas Automation and NASCAR's Haas CNC Racing, agreed to pay a fine, back taxes and interests totaling more than $70 million, the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Haas pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge for orchestrating a plan to list bogus expenses that could be written off as business costs and save Haas Automation millions in taxes.

Haas, of Camarillo, was scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 5. Prosecutors recommended he serve two years in federal prison and six months probation, according to his plea agreement.

A call Monday to Haas Automation, which makes computerized machine tools, was not immediately returned.

Four others have pleaded guilty in connection to the scheme and are scheduled to be sentenced next year. They include Haas Automation's former general manager, Denis Dupuis, of Newbury Park; and a former salesman, Robert Cable, of La Crescenta. The remaining defendants were Charles Todd, of Minden, Nev. and Kenneth Greene, 53, of Simi Valley.