63 year-old Carl Kieser was handed an eight year prison term for mail fraud, tax evasion, and illegal application of a pesticide inconsistent with its labeling.
In U.S. District Court Thursday, Chief Judge James E. Shadid ordered the Gibson City man to serve 97 months (8 years, 1 month) in federal prison. Kieser was also ordered to serve three years of supervised release following his release from prison. Kieser was ordered to the federal Bureau of Prisons May 5th.
The sentence also orders restitution in the total amount of $75,862; $71,411 to the IRS and $4,451 to victims he defrauded.
Last October, a jury convicted Kieser of three counts of mail fraud and illegal application of a pesticide inconsistent with its labeling. On July 8, 2014, Kieser had entered open pleas of guilty to four counts of tax evasion.
Kieser owned and operated Aquatic Control of Illinois, at his Gibson City Fishing and Camping Club, south of Gibson City on Route 47. The government presented evidence that Kieser manufactured, advertised, sold, and distributed a product he called Pond Clear Plus. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that the chemical should not be applied directly to water due to its toxicity to fish and other aquatic wildlife.
Kieser's advertisements for Pond Clear Plus in newspapers and magazines falsely and fraudulently represented that Pond Clear Plus could control lake weeds and algae "Mother Nature's Way," with "No Chemicals," using a "biological method with live bacteria that dissolves plant nutrients, black muck, and rotten egg odor." Kieser also falsely and fraudulently represented to customers that Pond Clear Plus contained no chemicals.
As a result of his false advertising and representations, Kieser sold and distributed Pond Clear Plus to customers from approximately July 2007 to September 2012. Kieser obtained more than $400,000 in proceeds from customers from the sale of Pond Clear Plus, but failed to pay any federal income tax on his profits from 2008 to 2011.