William B. Clayton, a residential builder formerly of Corolla, N.C., was arrested yesterday on charges of obstructing the tax laws and converting government property, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced. Clayton had his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge William A. Webb in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Clayton was charged in a two-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on June 19, 2012, in the Eastern District of North Carolina and unsealed today. The indictment charges Clayton with one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue laws and one count of knowingly converting and disposing of U.S. government property.
According to the indictment, Clayton failed to file federal income tax returns over a six-year period, resulting in the assessment of taxes and penalties and the initiation of collection proceedings by the IRS. Between May 2007 and August 2010, Clayton took steps to obstruct the IRS’s efforts to collect his unpaid tax liabilities, such as concealing property from the IRS and destroying property owned by the IRS but previously built and owned by Clayton. According to the charging instrument, in an effort to pay down Clayton’s tax liabilities, the IRS scheduled a public auction of Clayton’s former property. In the days leading up to the auction, Clayton committed, or caused the commission of, various acts of destruction and demolition at the Corolla property, including destroying an outdoor pool deck and pool house, forcibly removing a guest house from the property and transporting it to a non-consenting neighbor’s property, and forcibly removing cabinets, counter tops, a kitchen island, sinks, toilets and light fixtures.
If convicted, Clayton could face a maximum potential sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the tax obstruction charge, and 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on the conversion of government property charge.
This case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Adam Hulbig of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.