There are good schemes and bad schemes. Today, I’m focusing on the particularly stupid.
From McClellandtown, Pennsylvania comes the story of Sherman Friend. Mr. Friend just knew that the number “1127″ would come up in the lottery. He bought 208 tickets with that number in a Big 4 drawing back in 2009. And Mr. Friend was correct! With each ticket being worth $250 and having cost just $0.50, he was looking at a profit of a cool $519,896. Even after taxes that’s a good deal.
Mr. Friend, though, had other ideas about paying taxes. Instead of cashing all the tickets himself and accumulating a bunch of W-2Gs noting his winnings, he solicited friends to cash the tickets and paid each of them $250 (10% of his win). That reduced Mr. Friend’s profit, but after the net proceeds of around $480,000 ended up in his wallet, he still owed tax on it. Mr. Friend decided to ignore the law.
“He went on to explain that he didn’t feel he owed the taxes on these moneys,” Assistant US Attorney Nelson Cohen told a judge in Pittsburgh. Mr. Friend pleaded guilty, and has agreed to make restitution of the $132,000 he owes the IRS.
Next, lets head to Billings, Montana. Shannon Grimm enjoyed doing genealogy research. She discovered that many old documents had social security numbers. Aha, she thought, why don’t I submit tax returns with those social security numbers. Those individuals are deceased so no one will mind.
She filed over 90 such phony returns.
Last April, she pleaded guilty to tax fraud. She was sentenced last week to 51 months at ClubFed. Additionally, she has to repay the $129,498 she got in refunds from the IRS. (The IRS caught $270,000 of additional refunds she field before sending them out.) One factor that led to her lengthy sentence was that Ms. Grimm was on probation when she committed the federal crime.
Finally, let’s head to Sicklerville, New Jersey. As I’ve said many, many times, if you want to get in trouble with the IRS the quickest and easiest way is to not remit employee trust fund payroll taxes. The IRS investigates every one of these complaints. Vanna Kem apparently didn’t read my blog. Ms. Kem owned Tri State Labor Services (though she used a nominee for registering the corporation). Ms. Kem paid her employees: They made over $1 million from 2006 through 2008. The employees were paid in cash, and apparently Ms. Kem thought that eliminated the responsibility of doing anything about her payroll taxes. She didn’t pay them and didn’t file Form 941s with the IRS.
Sooner or later one of her employees would note something on a tax return, and the IRS would find out. Ms. Kem pleaded guilty to one count of evading employment taxes and will enjoy ClubFed for 18 months. She must also make restitution of nearly $164,000.
Three rather dumb criminals will all get some time off. As usual, it’s far, far easier to pay your tax up front but that thought rarely enters the Bozo tax criminal’s mind.