Robert J. Fedor, Esq., L.L.C.

The serious implications of tax crimes

The U.S. government requires that working U.S. citizens pay taxes on earned income. While it's illegal to avoid paying taxes or fail to report all earned income, millions of Americans make mistakes when figuring out how much they owe Uncle Sam. There is, however, a difference between making a simple or honest mistake and knowingly evading paying taxes.

A 67-year-old pharmacist was recently indicted on criminal charges related to tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud. Additionally, both the man's son and wife were also charged with related tax crimes. Upon searching the pharmacist's home, police found millions of dollars of hidden cash which helped prosecutors build their case and ultimately win a conviction against the man. 

While the man's defense attorney pleaded that the 67-year-old, who is in poor health, receive a reduced sentence, the judge overseeing the matter chose to make an example of the man. He was subsequently sentenced to serve 14 years in federal prison and ordered to pay fines totalling $550,000 and nearly $25 million in penalties and back taxes.

This case proves how serious criminal charges related to tax crimes such as tax evasion can be. In many cases, individuals who are charged with and found guilty of such crimes are subject to sentencing guidelines that are largely at the discretion of judges. Depending on a judge's temperament and mood, an individual could potentially spend years in federal prison and be forced to pay hefty fines and penalties.

Ohio residents who are facing tax crimes would be wise to consult with an attorney who has experience successfully handling complex criminal tax cases. In some cases, a defense attorney is able to negotiate more favorable terms with regard to restitution payments as well as prison sentences.

Source: Dallas News, "Colleyville pharmacist and son get prison time for tax fraud," Kevin Krause, July 17, 2013