Most everyone that grew up in the past century has been caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar. That is to say, all of us have been caught doing something wrong. The majority of the time, we fess up to the blatant bad behavior and accept whatever type of punishment comes our way. Deep down inside, we hope that our cooperation after being caught red-handed will yield a less drastic punishment than we would have received if we had maintained our innocence to the bitter end. Surprisingly, the U.S. criminal justice system works similar to our child-like instincts and sometimes rewards those who cooperate. But much like a parent, if you double cross the Department of Justice or Internal Revenue Service, your punishment will be very severe.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Thomas Tilley, 80, of Durham, North Carolina, was sentenced to serve a 32-month prison term for his role in a scheme that corruptly impeded and obstructed the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. The statutory maximum sentence for Tilley’s crime was 36 months, and although it appears as if he was given a break when it came to sentencing, the sentence was much worse than it needed to be. In November of 2014, Tilley pleaded guilty to the single charge referenced above and agreed to provide probation and court officials with information pertaining to his current and former conduct. In exchange, the Department of Justice and the court agreed to recognize an “acceptance of responsibility credit”. The credit would effectively reduce the amount of time that Tilley would be required to serve in connection with the guilty plea. But after his plea was entered but before sentencing, probation and court officials found out that Tilley had continued to provide false information regarding his current and past activities. At his sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen Jr. of the Middle District of North Carolina showed little deference for the age of the defendant when he sentenced Tilley to nearly three years in a federal prison.
Tilley’s original illegal activity that gave rise to the investigation and his prosecution spanned from 1993 to 2010, according to DOJ officials. Court documents state that Tilley sent fraudulent documentation to the IRS in an attempt to eliminate his tax debt. Further, he was alleged to have used sham entities to buy and sell his property and placed false liens on other pieces of real property in order to deceive the IRS about the value and availability of his assets. Finally, for tax years 1994 through 2013, Tilley failed to file state or federal income tax returns despite claiming that his net worth was as high as $30 million during those times.
This story goes to show anyone who has or is currently engaging in fraudulent tax activity the seriousness of the potential consequences. Mr. Tilley original deal was likely procured with the help of an experienced tax attorney, but the hard work of his legal representation was thrown away when he decided to take matters into his own hands and continued lying to authorities. An effective tax attorney’s job is to counsel a client and put them into the best position possible with regard to their particular case.
The tax and accounting professionals at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing have extensive experience assisting taxpayers with state and federal tax matters. Whether you are facing an examination, criminal tax investigation, or a full blown civil or criminal trial, our tax attorneys, CPA’s and support staff are here to zealously advocate for your physical and financial freedom. As Mr. Tilley learned the hard way, the IRS and Department of Justice are out to ensure that convictions are secured against those who break federal tax laws. When the government drags you into the ring, make sure that you have a team of experienced and effective tax professionals in your corner. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today for a reduced-rate consultation today.