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Ex-NFL player among 3 sentenced in Las Vegas tax fraud case

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LAS VEGAS >> A former pro football player, a one-time neighborhood casino owner and an ex-Las Vegas businessman have been sentenced in Nevada to federal prison for creating a company that prosecutors said defrauded the federal government of more than $324 million in tax revenue.

Alan Rodrigues, 55, of Henderson was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Miranda Du to six years in prison, according to court records. Rodrigues once owned the Opera House and Silver Nugget casinos in North Las Vegas.

Businessman Weston Coolidge, 70, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison.

Former NFL punter Joseph Prokop, 54, of Upland, California, was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison and 2 1/2 years of home confinement.

Prokop played for six NFL teams — the Green Bay Packers, San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and New York Giants — in seven NFL seasons from 1985 to 1992.

Defense attorneys for Coolidge and Prokop didn’t immediately respond Wednesday to messages about the sentences.

Rodrigues’ lawyer, Richard Pocker, called the prison terms imposed by Du a fraction of the time sought by federal prosecutors for what Pocker called a dispute between the IRS and businessmen.

Pocker said his client will appeal.

Rodrigues, Coolidge and Prokop also were ordered to pay a share of more than $35 million in restitution to victims of the company, called the National Audit Defense Network, and a product called Tax Break 2000.

A federal jury found Rodrigues, Coolidge and Prokop guilty last May of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and mail fraud after a six-week trial and several days of deliberations.

The three men were indicted by a Las Vegas federal grand jury in January 2009. Prosecutors said Coolidge was owner and president of National Audit Defense Network owner, and Rodrigues was company general manager.

Prokop was described as marketing director of Oryan Management and Financial Services, a company that prosecutors said created Tax Break 2000 and paid the Las Vegas firm to sell it.

From 2001 through May 2004, the company sold the Tax Break 2000 product more than 18,000 times to customers across the U.S., prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the men told buyers they could claim up to $10,475 in income tax credits and deductions under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

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