Tax day (April 15th) is just around the corner and the IRS Criminal Investigations Division is working overtime. Ditto for the IRS’ Public Affairs folks. Each year between January 1st and April 15th, the IRS announces many prosecutions of tax cheats. This year is no exception.
In Escambia County, Florida, 60-year-old realtor William “Geri” Eaton was sentenced to 27 months in prison for tax evasion. Like our previous post, his story is also puzzling.
Prosecutors say that between 2004 and 2008, Eaton made $1.18 million in taxable income. Unfortunately, he neither paid his taxes nor filed returns for those years. Ultimately, he filed returns and was found to owe over $500,000. Most people don’t get a second chance with the IRS but Eaton did and then claimed poverty. The IRS agreed to a $1000 per month payment plan.
Six months later he stopped paying.
If this isn’t bad enough, Eaton then opened up a bank account with a phony social security number and deposited over $700,000 into the account. Eaton didn’t stop there, however.
After suffering a heart attack, Eaton ran up a huge medical bill. Once again Eaton claimed poverty and the hospital wrote off his bill.
Ultimately, the IRS figured out what was really going on. Eaton was charged and subsequently convicted of tax evasion and making false statements to a healthcare benefit program. Last month he was sentenced to 27 months in prison. The IRS has seized $610,000 of his assets. Once released from prison, Eaton must pay an additional $99,000 to both the IRS and the hospital that provided medical care.
Often we see tax evasion cases where the taxpayers get in over their heads. In Eaton’s case, however, it appears that he more than enough money to pay his taxes. Had he promptly paid and reported, he would have avoided hundreds of thousands of dollars of interest and penalties.
Failing to file a return or pay taxes can be a misdemeanor crime punishable by up to 12 months in jail. Lie about your assets or open an account with a false social security number and a bad situation becomes worse. Eaton could have been sentenced to 5 years in prison on the tax evasion charge alone. As it is, he will likely spend his 61st and 62nd birthdays in prison.
The IRS tax attorneys at Mahany & Ertl have helped people across the United States avoid prosecution and enforced collections. For more information about collections and audits, contact attorney Bethany Canfield at or by telephone at (414) 223-0464. Already under criminal investigation or facing tax evasion charges? Contact attorney Brian Mahany at or by telephone at (414) 704-6731 (direct). All inquiries are kept in strict confidence and protected by the attorney-client privilege. IRS legal services provided nationwide.
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