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Real Estate Professionals and Reality Stars Face Penalties for Tax Evasion

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    The U.S. government does not treat tax offenses lightly. They have extensive resources at their disposal and employ multiple methods for catching potential tax evaders. Those who are convicted of tax evasion can face devastating civil and criminal penalties including incarceration and restitution.

    For example, two real estate professionals recently convicted of tax crimes are facing potential prison sentences and the assessment of expensive fines. Further, in 2021, reality television stars Todd and Julie Chrisley were sentenced to prison for defrauding banks and evading their income taxes. In order to avoid similar penalties, defendants who are accused of tax offenses should seek assistance from our legal team.

    Seek guidance and support from our Dual-Licensed Tax Lawyers & CPAs at the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing by calling (800) 681-1295.

    Real Estate Professionals Convicted of Tax Crimes

    In recent years, there have been notable cases involving real estate professionals who have been convicted of tax crimes. These cases act as a reminder that these individuals are not immune to the scrutiny of tax authorities and the potential consequences of evading tax obligations.

    The first case involves Jeffrey Donaldson, a mortgage loan officer from Florida. Donaldson worked for Movement Mortgage, LLC, and CrossCountry Mortgage, LLC. In May 2023, he pleaded guilty to evading federal income taxes on over $750,000 of his income earned from 2015 to 2018. He submitted false withholding certificates to his employers and did not file income tax returns. Donaldson’s actions caused the U.S. government to incur a tax loss of over $150,000. His sentencing is pending, and he could face up to five years in prison, supervised release, restitution, and fines.

    Another example of a real estate professional being punished for tax evasion is the case of a Michigan real estate developer named Scott Chappelle. Chappelle is an attorney and former certified public accountant. He acted improperly by spending money on various personal expenses, including plastic surgery, a lakeside house, multiple cars, and a 62-foot yacht, while falsely claiming financial hardship to the IRS. As a result, Chappelle received a 38-month prison sentence for tax evasion. In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution, serve three years of supervised release, and pay a $150,000 fine.

    The cases of Donaldson and Chappelle demonstrate that tax offenses are treated very seriously, and the consequences of such activities can be substantial. If you have been accused of tax crimes, it is crucial that you hire our Dual-Licensed Tax Lawyers & CPAs to determine the appropriate course of action. Our experienced legal team can help navigate each stage of your case so that you may avoid criminal penalties.

    Reality Stars Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion

    Todd and Julie Chrisley are a married couple who gained fame through their reality television show called “Chrisley Knows Best.” The show follows their lives as a wealthy family living in Atlanta, Georgia.

    In 2021, Todd and Julie were sentenced to twelve and seven years in federal prison for fraud and tax evasion. During a trial that lasted nearly three weeks, it was revealed that they defrauded community banks of over $30 million in loans and evaded federal income taxes for multiple years. The Chrisley’s case serves as another cautionary reminder that any attempts to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can result in severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and costly fines.

    Common Examples of Tax Evasion

    Tax evasion comes in many different forms. The following are common examples of tax offenses that you can face criminal penalties for:

    Underreporting Income

    Many businesses and individuals commit tax evasion by intentionally underreporting their income. This is done in order to reduce their tax obligations. Underreporting income may involve hiding cash transactions, inflating expenses, or manipulating financial records.

    Offshore Tax Evasion

    Offshore tax evasion is also very common. This form of evasion typically occurs when certain parties open offshore accounts or use offshore entities to hide their income and assets. In doing so, they may avoid paying taxes in their home country.

    Several countries with low tax rates serve as popular havens for offshore evaders. These countries include the British Virgin Islands, Switzerland, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands.

    Shell Companies and False Transactions

    Also, many individuals engage in tax evasion by depositing income in shell companies and engaging in false transactions. By moving their money around, evaders can obscure the true source of the income at issue.

    Improper Use of Deductions and Exemptions

    Furthermore, some people evade their taxes by improperly taking advantage of deductions and exemptions. This form of evasion can include inflating expenses, claiming personal expenses as business expenses, or misrepresenting eligibility for certain tax benefits. By doing so, taxpayers may reduce their taxable income.

    Paying Employees Under the Table

    Employers may evade their taxes by paying employees under the table. This refers to the practice of paying employees in cash without reporting the wages to the proper authorities. This is done so that employers may avoid payroll taxes and any other employment-related taxes that may be levied against them. Additionally, failing to issue W2’s or 1099’s while paying your employees in non-traceable cash can be charged as aiding and abetting your employee’s income tax evasion.


    Tax evasion can also occur through smuggling goods or engaging in illegal activities where taxes are not paid. Examples include smuggling contraband goods, engaging in illegal gambling, or participating in illicit drug trade. Those who engage in this form of tax evasion often face severe penalties for their misconduct.

    False Residency or Citizenship

    Finally, tax evasion can also occur when individuals claim false residency or citizenship. This form of evasion is often perpetrated in order to take advantage of favorable tax laws. If you have been accused of claiming false residency or citizenship, then our legal team can help build your defense.

    If You Need Help with Your Tax Issues, Reach Out to Our Lawyers for Support

    After being accused of a tax crime, get help from our Dual-Licensed Tax Lawyers & CPAs by calling the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today at (800) 681-1295.

    Avoiding Criminal Tax Prosecution where you have a History of Income Tax Evasion.

    If you have failed to file a tax return for one or more years or have taken a position on a tax return that could not be supported upon an IRS or state tax authority audit, eggshell audit, reverse eggshell audit, or criminal tax investigation, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced tax defense attorney to determine your best route back into federal or state tax compliance without facing criminal prosecution.

    Note: As long as a taxpayer that has willfully committed tax crimes (potentially including non-filed foreign information returns coupled with affirmative evasion of U.S. income tax on offshore income) self-reports the tax fraud (including a pattern of non-filed returns) through a domestic or offshore voluntary disclosure before the IRS has started an audit or criminal tax investigation / prosecution, the taxpayer can ordinarily be successfully brought back into tax compliance and receive a nearly guaranteed pass on criminal tax prosecution and simultaneously often receive a break on the civil penalties that would otherwise apply. 

    It is imperative that you hire an experienced and reputable criminal tax defense attorney to take you through the voluntary disclosure process. Only an Attorney has the Attorney Client Privilege and Work Product Privileges that will prevent the very professional that you hire from being potentially being forced to become a witness against you, especially where they prepared the returns that need to be amended, in a subsequent criminal tax audit, investigation or prosecution.

    Moreover, only an Attorney can enter you into a voluntary disclosure without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (a crime in itself). Only an Attorney trained in Criminal Tax Defense fully understands the risks and rewards involved in voluntary disclosures and how to protect you if you do not qualify for a voluntary disclosure.

    As uniquely qualified and extensively experienced Criminal Tax Defense Tax Attorneys, KovelCPAs and EAs, our firm provides a one stop shop to efficiently achieve the optimal and predictable results that simultaneously protect your liberty and your net worth.

    See our Testimonials to see what our clients have to say about us!

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