Select Page

Tax Crime: Significant prison sentences have been handed down during the past year

It’s that time of year again: tax season. The Justice Department would like to remind the public during this time of year that evading your tax obligations could end badly, with substantial fines and penalties, and even long prison sentences.  Taxpayers are also reminded to be on the lookout for unscrupulous tax return preparers, who seek to inflate refunds by falsifying deductions, among other means. Even if a tax return preparer makes an error on an individual’s tax return, it is still the taxpayer’s responsibility to pay the correct taxes, and that individual may still be responsible for any unpaid taxes, interest, and fines resulting from these crimes.

“Tax returns are signed under the penalties of perjury, and every taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the contents of his or her own return,” cautioned Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “While the vast majority of Americans truthfully report and pay their taxes, unfortunately there are those who seek to cheat the system and take a free ride on the backs of the hard working men and women of this country. The Justice Department is committed to bringing tax evaders and those who falsely prepare tax returns to justice.”

Over the past year, federal prosecutors for the Tax Division and U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country have worked tirelessly with special agents of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and other law enforcements agencies to investigate and prosecute those who illegally evade their taxes.  These enforcement efforts continue year round.

Recent Tax Evasion Prosecutions of Individuals

  • In July 2017, a Watertown, New York, restaurateur was sentenced to 150 months in prison for tax evasion and investment fraud.  He engaged in a scheme to evade more than $4 million in taxes and obstruct the IRS.
  • In October 2017, a Grand Junction, Colorado, business owner was sentenced to 88 months in prison for tax evasion and failing to file corporate and individual tax returns.  He had not filed a personal tax return since 1992 and had not paid individual income taxes since 1993.
  • In January 2017, a St. Louis, Missouri, tax return preparation business owner was sentenced to 27 months in prison for tax evasion.  He underreported his businesses’ gross receipts by over $1.5 million and evaded over $580,000 in tax.
  • In August 2017, a south Florida salesman was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for tax evasion.  From 2002 to 2015, he earned over $1.5 million in income selling hurricane resistant windows and evaded paying over $350,000 in taxes.  Except for the 2007 tax year, he had not filed an income tax return since 2002. Read more

Read also: California National Guard female advisor breaks through barriers

Tax Crime: Significant prison sentences have been handed down during the past year