A Texas man has pleaded guilty to several charges surrounding an alleged Medicare scheme. The charges include conspiracy to commit health care fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and tax evasion. The man and a number of unidentified accomplices were said to have used a variety of vehicles to transport patients, offering kickbacks in exchange for their Medicare numbers.
The tax fraud charges involve the man's company, Pearl Ambulance. He apparently reported his 2003 annual income to be under $200,000, though investigation by the IRS apparently showed that he earned $2 million and owed $329,310 in taxes for the year. These actions ended up resulting in a failure to file a tax return.
The Texas man has been released from jail on a $30,000 bond, and his sentencing hearing has been set for Feb. 22. He faces up to 35 years in prison.
As the economy continues to struggle, and many Texas residents continue to face financial challenges, some may be trying to cut costs by filing their own taxes. However, the tax code can be confusing for anyone and sometimes a person may make unwitting mistakes. While there are legal ways to avoid taxes, there are also illegal ways to do so. Whether or not the man in this case purposefully avoided taxes or simply made a mistake, the IRS does not take suspected tax evasion lightly.
After entering a guilty plea, which ensured he would not face any more charges, the man in this case will now likely focus on his upcoming sentencing. Every effort will understandably be made to receive a minimum penalty.
Source: The Houston Chronicle, "Ex-club owner admits Medicare fraud," Terri Langford, Nov. 29, 2011