William Paul, a self-described “bishop,” was sentenced yesterday to 53 months in federal prison for tax evasion, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Paul was convicted on Dec. 1, 2011, after a four-day jury trial, of four counts of evasion of his wife’s 2004 through 2007 individual income taxes and of one count of failing to file a tax return. On Nov. 16, 2011, his wife, Donna Paul, a board-certified physician, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and one count of filing a false individual income tax return. She was also sentenced yesterday to three years of probation, including six months of home confinement and 200 hours of community service. U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller also ordered the Pauls to pay $85,396 in restitution to the IRS. Both William Paul and Donna Paul are former residents of Montgomery, Ala.
According to evidence introduced at trial and documents filed with Donna Paul’s plea agreement, Donna and William Paul owned and operated a medical practice in Montgomery, which was registered as a non-profit organization. The Pauls attempted to evade the assessment and payment of Donna Paul’s income by falsely characterizing her income as loans, by making false statements to IRS employees, and by deliberately causing the non-profit organizations to not file tax returns.
Evidence at trial further showed that Donna Paul did not timely file federal individual income tax returns for the years 2004 through 2007. On April 5, 2011, the day special agents from IRS-Criminal Investigation arrested her, Donna Paul filed four false individual income tax returns for tax years 2004 through 2007. She testified at trial that none of these tax returns included money she earned from her medical practice.
Based on testimony at trial, William Paul had not filed a federal income tax return since the 1980s. Donna Paul also testified that William Paul ran the business side of the medical practice, initially called “Rheumatology Specialists of Central Alabama,” then “Rheumatology Specialists Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center,” then “Children and Adult Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center.”
Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, Tax Division Trial Attorneys Justin Gelfand and Michael Boteler, who prosecuted the case, and George L. Beck Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, and his entire office for their assistance in the prosecution.