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A federal jury convicted Dwight C. Jackson, 53, of Henderson, NV on 5 counts of willful tax evasion and 1 count of filing a false and fictitious claim on Wednesday. Jackson was a firefighter employed with the Henderson fire department and in 2009 was the 11th highest-paid city employee with a total compensation of roughly $280,000. According to Transparent Nevada, this breaks down into base pay of $70,000 plus $53,000 in overtime with other benefits accounting for the balance.
The charges asserted that from 2004 through 2008 Jackson earned an average salary of more than $113,000 a year producing between $22,000 and $29,000 in federal income tax liability. However, jurors were told that he willfully evaded paying taxes owed by drastically understating earnings, falsely claiming the earned income tax credit, and untimely filed his 2004 through 2006 returns. Additionally, Jackson was accused of submitting false W-4 forms with his employer. He claimed to be exempt from federal tax withholdings thus concealing his actual income from the IRS. For the 2009 tax year, it is alleged that Jackson knowingly presenting a false income tax return stating that he earned no wages when he actually earned $247,492 from the city.
Special Agent Paul Camacho in charge of the IRS Criminal Division in Nevada noted, “As government employees we are profoundly aware that our wages come through taxes and we all have a duty to pay our fair share.” This action is part of the concerted effort of the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) that was created to aggressively investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With over 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and along with state and local partners, the FFETF is the largest assembled coalition of law enforcement ever used to combat fraud and tax evasion. The Task Force has made significant strides in stepping up coordination and efficiency at all levels.
Over the last 3 years, with the help of the Task Force, the Justice Department has filed over 10,000 cases against some 15,000 defendants. If you have underreported income or a similar circumstance, before finding yourself the subject of federal investigation you should consult a knowledgeable and experienced tax attorney to help bring you into compliance.