When it comes to consequences for tax fraud, the law doesn’t discriminate against blue, white and gold collar workers.
Dr. Sheila Mohammed of Pensacola was recently sentenced to one year and one day in jail for falsifying tax returns. Her sentence will be followed by two years’ probation. Plus, she was ordered to pay $255,158 in restitution to the IRS. The doctor pleaded guilty to seven criminal offenses. She admitted that she signed and filed false personal tax returns that under reported her income from 2010 through 2013. Another admission was that when she was the president and owner of The Industrial Medicine Institute, she filed false corporate tax returns from 2010 through 2012. Prosecutors alleged that Dr. Sheila Mohammed obtained over $1 million from her criminal acts and used the funds to purchase property in Hawaii, Destin, Pace and Pensacola.
Former northwest Florida business owner Patrick Anderson was sentenced to two years in federal prison for income tax fraud. He had previously sold synthetic drugs from retail stores that he operated in northwest Florida, including Groovy Gifts, Haight Ashbury and Woodstock Navarre. He did not report this income on his tax returns, which resulted in a tax loss of over $170,000. In addition to his two year jail sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS and forfeit almost $1 million in property he purchased with the $700,000 in income from the sale of the synthetic drugs.
Do You Go To Jail With a Tax Fraud Conviction?
If you get wind that you’re being charged with tax fraud, it’s not simply just a matter of mitigating penalties. A tax attorney can’t do much for you at this point; you need a criminal defense attorney who has experience in tax crimes. Don’t go with a family attorney or a DUI attorney. There’s a lot at stake since tax evasion is a federal crime punishable by jail. Just like Dr. Sheila Mohammed and Patrick Anderson, you could find yourself behind bars with a tax fraud conviction.
Potential defenses to tax fraud charges vary depending on the crime and the evidence against you. A criminal defense attorney may be able to argue there is insufficient proof against you or lack of intent to violate the laws. When you’re facing criminal prosecution for tax fraud, you are entitled to due process and other constitutional protections. If the prosecutor cannot prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, avoiding a conviction just may be possible. If the evidence for tax fraud is strong against you, your criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain. Often, plea bargains allow one to avoid jail time, especially when proof of willfulness is limited or it’s a first offense. To best protect your freedom, it’s important to get legal help if accused of tax fraud.
Another factor that plays a role in whether or not one goes to jail for tax fraud is the judge. While most judges follow the sentencing guidelines set forth by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, they can use their discretion to impose a sentence that they believe is fair and just. They may rule for house arrest or parole instead of prison time. The bottom line is that there are many arguments and reasons for you to avoid jail if you’re accused of tax fraud. Everybody’s case is different, and so is yours. A criminal defense attorney will let you know the best course of action to take and can fight for your rights for the best outcome.
If you have been accused or charged with tax fraud contact Destin Florida defense attorney John F. Greene. He has more than 30 years of experience working with defendants in both state and federal courts. He is committed to his clients and will fight vigorously for the charges to be dismissed or, at a minimum, to have the penalties reduced. He is an experienced trial attorney and his firm is also a certified debt relief agency in the State of Florida.
Attorney Greene’s office is located in the City of Destin and he serves all those along the Emerald Coast, specifically the Crestview, Destin, DeFuniak Springs, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville and Panama City Beach areas. Contact attorney John F. Greene either online or call 850-424-6833 to schedule a consultation.