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Couple sentenced for tax evasion five years apart

North Carolina residents should know that the federal government is getting tough on suspected tax crimes. Being prosecuted by the federal government is no laughing matter, and being convicted on federal charges of any variety can lead to heavy fines and long prison terms.

A woman from Tacoma, Washington, has been sentenced to prison for tax evasion, along with other crimes, five years after her partner in the alleged scheme was sentenced. The 54-year-old man was charged in 2006 and later sentenced to an eight-year prison term. The 62-year-old woman was recently sentenced to seven years for her role in the alleged "abusive trust scheme" to hide people's incomes and assets from the Internal Revenue Service.

The charges included four counts of tax evasion, conspiracy and interfering with income tax laws. Following her prison term, she will serve three years of supervised release and is required to pay $856,681 in restitution. The activities that lead to her conviction reportedly occurred between 1999 and 2005. She and others involved in the scheme allegedly referred clients to her partner, who then sold trust packages that led to more than $7 million dollars of unpaid income taxes.

She also allegedly wrote letters to the IRS on behalf of her clients in an effort to prevent collection on taxes and charged $100 to $125 to send these letters to the IRS. This reportedly led to a lifestyle where she owned a Mercedes, 42-foot yacht and properties in Panama and North Tacoma. Prosecutors allege that this led to $4 million in unpaid taxes.

Another important fact to remember in a case such as this is that the federal prison sentence does not allow for the possibility of parole. If someone knows that they are being targeted by the IRS or other federal agency, it could be beneficial to consult with a criminal defense attorney, who can ensure that no legal rights are trampled.

Source: Puget Sound Business Journal, "Tax scheme nets seven year sentence," Nov. 17, 2011

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