CINCINNATI (WXIX) – The former owner of Cameo nightclub, where a mass shooting occurred in 2017, pleaded guilty on Thursday in US District Court to federal firearms and tax crimes, according to acting US Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Vipal Patel.
Julian Rogers, 45, was a one-time prolific nightclub owner and concert promoter in Cincinnati. He filed for bankruptcy in December 2017 in the wake of the Cameo mass shooting, which resulted in two gross negligence lawsuits.
Rogers on Thursday admitted to underreporting his 2017 income by at least $100,000, according to the DOJ. He also admitted to illegal possession of firearms after previously being convicted of a felony.
Rogers’ reported 2017 taxable income of $90,000 fell at least $105,108.92 short of his actual income that year, causing a tax loss of nearly $36,000, according to the DOJ.
The same year, Rogers withdrew money from his business bank accounts and spent it on purchases for himself, including payments on a Porsche and gambling expenses at a casino, the DOJ says.
A search of Rogers’ residence yielded two handguns in October 2018, two months after federal agents told him that he was prohibited from possessing any guns as a convicted felon.
Felony firearm possession carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, and income tax falsification carries a prison sentence of up to three years.
The shooting at Cameo, formerly located near Lunken Airport, happened on March 26, 2017. Hundreds were present at the time. One person died, and 16 were injured.
One of the suspects would later die as well. The other suspect pleaded guilty in 2018.
>> Cameo nightclub shooter: ‘I am remorseful’
The club was supposed to be checking patrons for weapons. However, at least three different guns made it inside, according to police.
Cameo had a prior history of gun violence, including a shooting inside the club on New Year’s Day 2015 and a shooting in the parking lot in September of the same year.
Police had been called to the club upwards of 100 times since the beginning of 2016, city documents show.
Club manager Julian Rodgers turned his liquor permit over to authorities on the day after the shooting. He also released a statement rejecting claims that people paid to get into the club without being checked.
The club permanently shut down March 31, 2017.
Two negligence lawsuits were filed against Rogers and the club in the shooting’s aftermath, one from the estate of the deceased victim, another from eight injured survivors.
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