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Jeweler Hopes to Avoid Prison on Tax Evasion Charges

Michael Hoffman, a jeweler in Grand Rapids, MI, is hoping that the court will grant him mercy when he is sentenced on Thursday for filing false corporate and personal income tax returns. The 59-year-old has asked for home confinement and probation, so that his business might survive.

"Mr. Hoffman acknowledges that he has committed a serious offense and is not attempting to excuse his conduct," attorney Terrance Dillon wrote in court documents.

"However, the (advisory sentencing) guideline range of 18 to 24 months does not take into account some of the factors mitigating Mr. Hoffman's offense or his otherwise unblemished life. Mr. Hoffman has no prior criminal history. He has been a well-respected, contributing member of this community. In addition to his extensive work with charities and the arts, Mr. Hoffman built a business that has a reputation for integrity and excellence throughout the community."

Hoffman founded the company in 1986 and is the store's only jeweler.

Hoffman's attorney suggests that his client was "over-extended" in real-estate investments when the 2008 financial crisis hit and that, as a result, he was unable to pay his bills. His attorney went on to explain how Hoffman's mortgage debt far exceeded the value of his properties and that the problem was only exacerbated when he lost a large tenant, costing him $204,000 in annual rent.

Hoffman filed false tax returns for 2007 and failed to report additional incomes in 2008 and 2009, resulting in an overall tax loss of $261,000, which he later repaid.

Source: Agar, John, "Owner of Hoffman Jewelers hopes to avoid prison for tax evasion," MLive,

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