A Yelm couple from Romania is being held at a federal detention center while the Romanian government seeks their extradition based on criminal charges that they evaded $72 million in taxes there.
According to court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, the Romanian government has accused Radu Nemes and his wife, Diana Nemes, of importing diesel fuel and then avoiding paying the taxes that would normally be assessed for it by falsely documenting it as lesser-grade fuel.
The Nemeses are charged criminally with tax evasion in Romania, court papers state.
The complaint filed in federal court alleges that the Nemeses used "various shell companies they controlled to launder the proceeds of this tax evasion scheme."
Between May 2011 and July 2012, the Nemeses allegedly sold approximately 990,000 tons of diesel fuel that was falsely reported to the Romanian government as lower-grade fuel, the complaint states.
Federal agents served search warrants at the Nemeses' property in the 16000 block of Vail Road, SE, in Yelm, where the couple was constructing "a massive log home" and found "a fully equipped and furnished underground bunker." Authorities also seized nine firearms while executing a search warrant at the couple's property in the 16000 block of Deer Ridge Lane in Yelm.
The couple was arrested at their Deer Ridge Lane home on March 18.
The Nemeses have been ordered held in federal detention pending the resolution of their extradition matter. The Nemeses' attorney, Martha Boersch, had argued in court papers that Diana Nemes has special circumstances that should allow her release from custody on bail, namely that she is not a flight risk, and she is five month pregnant. Boersch's motion for Diana Nemes' release on bail also states that there is not sufficient evidence in the Romanian government's complaint to suggest that she committed a criminal offense.
The couple has two small boys who live in Yelm, according to Boersch's court filing. Boersch could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Oral argument in the Nemes' extradition hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on May 22 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445; email@example.com