No Escape

The subject of one of our December cover stories pleads guilty to charges of tax fraud and sex abuse.

David Jacquot
David Jacquot

An Idaho man accused of molesting his adopted daughter and filing false tax returns has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.

If the plea agreement is finalized, Jacquot (pronounced “ja-coh”) could face up to three years in prison and $100,000 for the tax-fraud charge; he could face up to 30 years and be fined up to $250,000 related to the charges that he had sex with his daughter.

As part of the deal, Jacquot would have to register as a sex offender but would not be subject to charges in Bonner County, where the alleged molestation took place, according to Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall.

Jacquot, whom The Inlander first wrote about in December, stood accused of having a sexual relationship with his adopted daughter from Kazakhstan, then a minor. In March 2010, a few days after the girl made her allegations, Jacquot’s North Idaho home shot up in flames. His wife and son escaped; Jacquot was found bruised and bloody in a field several hundred feet away. He lost the capacity to speak, according to those who interviewed him at the time.

Shortly after, federal prosecutors charged him under the Mann Act, a controversial “morality” law originally used to prosecute Chuck Berry, Charlie Chaplin and champion boxer Jack Johnson. The charges stemmed from allegations that Jacquot transported his adopted and underage daughter across state lines for the purposes of having sex.

At the time of the fire, Jacquot was awaiting trial on two counts of tax fraud in connection with his work for Xelan Inc., a company where Jacquot worked as general counsel. As part of the plea deal revealed this week, Jacquot would plead guilty to one count of tax fraud and one count under the Mann Act.

Marshall says federal prosecutors probably took into account the two mistrials when agreeing to the plea deal. Jacquot was first tried on the Mann Act charges last fall and again in January. Both trials ended in hung juries.

“Given the fact that they had two mistrials going into it, I understand why they made the agreement that they did,” Marshall says. “There’s no set number of trials, but it starts to look and feel bad.”

The fire investigation has also been closed, due to a lack of evidence. “If other evidence came to light, I would consider” additional charges, Marshall says.

Marshall says any firearms allegations (the 40 weapons found on Jacquot’s property after the fire included a handgun with a destroyed serial number) are matters for state and federal authorities.

Citing the ongoing court proceedings, both the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Southern California and Michael Crowley, Jacquot’s attorney, declined to comment.

Gordon Hodge, cousin of Jacquot’s wife, Ann, says he wants to see gun charges pressed against Jacquot. Hodge, along with a neighbor, found parts of the handgun while visiting the property the morning after the fire.

“If they’re not going to do anything about [an allegedly stolen] gun with ground-off serial numbers, I would like to say I’d like two and my neighbor would like one,” Hodge says.

Hodge says he’s satisfied that the deal includes the sex-offender registration. “I’d like the guy to come out and be productive instead of destructive,” he says.

Hodge and Marshall say that they don’t know whether Jacquot has plans to move back to North Idaho.

As of Monday, Jacquot was still being held in federal custody in San Diego, according to prison records. A sentencing date is currently scheduled for June 11. 

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