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Texas couple sentenced to prison for tax evasion

A Big Sandy, Texas, husband and wife were given lengthy prison sentences recently after being found guilty of illegally claiming exemptions from federal income taxes. Sentencing for the husband and wife took place on Sept. 30. They were charged with numerous tax crimes, including conspiracy to attempt to evade federal income tax and five counts of attempting to evade federal income tax.

The man, who is 61 years old, and his 54-year-old wife were given separate sentences. The man received a bit more than three years in federal prison, while the woman received 3 years. The couple must also make restitution of approximately $570,000.

Prosecutors claimed that the couple had their employers give them their paychecks issued to the Office of the Patriarch of the Gathering of the House of Israel. This entity was said to be set up by the husband using an invalid Employer Identification Number. The couple claimed that they were not the ones who set up the entity and are not the persons who were named in the indictment.

When it comes to criminal tax matters, the laws can be confusing and very complex. Whether this couple deliberately broke the law may be subject to debate, but it is clear they will be serving time for actions they took. And unlike the state prison system, federal prison does not allow the possibility of parole, meaning the husband and wife will serve their full sentences. Texas residents facing criminal tax charges, such as failure to file a tax return, may be best served by consulting an experienced tax crimes attorney.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Couple sentenced on tax fraud charges," Sept. 30, 2011

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