Idaho Businessman Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion
Michael George Fitzpatrick, 51, of Hope, Idaho, was sentenced to 42 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Larry A. Burns, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Fitzpatrick was also ordered to serve three years super vised released and to pay just under $1.4 million in restitution to the IRS for unpaid individual and corporate federal income taxes.
Fitzpatrick was convicted of two counts of tax evasion in January 2013 by a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, jury. A previous jury had convicted him in September 2012 on two counts of failure to file corporate income tax returns but was unable to reach verdicts on the tax evasion counts. Fitzpatrick was remanded into custody immediately after the second trial.
According to the indictment and evidence introduced at both trials, Fitzpatrick operated a business selling products which purported to help individuals eliminate credit card debt. During 2003 and 2004, gross sales from the business, operating under the names Dynamic Solutions Inc. (DSI) and North American Educational Services Inc. (NAES), exceeded $9 million. At trial the government proved the corporations failed to report $3.7 million and Fitzpatrick himself failed to report over $500,000 in income, resulting in a total tax loss of $1,397,762.
The evidence further established that Fitzpatrick last filed an individual income tax return in 1996. At trial, Fitzpatrick argued at length that the income tax laws did not apply to him. However, the evidence showed he expended significant time and expense to put all of his property in the names of nominees.
The evidence at trial also established Fitzpatrick sent over $5 million offshore to a bank located in the Dominican Republic. Fitzpatrick accessed this money through the use of a debit card and through wire transfers. During this two-year period Fitzpatrick used over $1 million of his money hidden offshore to buy real estate and to gamble in Las Vegas on nine separate trips to the Bellagio Casino. He also paid a contractor to build a schoolhouse for his kids in his backyard in Hope, Idaho.
“This case sends a strong message that those who defy our nation's tax laws will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division Kathryn Keneally. “The sentence imposed today demonstrates that anyone who attempts to evade taxes by hiding assets in offshore bank accounts faces significant time in prison for these crimes.”
“Paying taxes is a solemn obligation of citizenship,” said U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. “Mr. Fitzpatrick’s conviction and sentence make clear that those who try to hide income or knowingly and falsely claim that the income tax laws do not apply to them will be prosecuted and ordered to pay. I commend the fine work of the Tax Division lawyers and the IRS criminal investigators in this case.”
“The license to run a business is not a license to avoid paying taxes,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber. “Today, Mr. Fitzpatrick has been held accountable for his actions of dodging his legal tax responsibilities to report all his income and pay his fair share of taxes. No one should doubt that IRS is committed to pursuing people hiding income offshore.”
Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division Kathryn Keneally and U.S. Attorney Olson thanked special agents from the Boise, Idaho, and Seattle offices of IRS Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Lori A. Hendrickson, Christopher P. O’Donnell, and Erin S. Mellen, who prosecuted the case with valuable support from the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Boise and Coeur d’Alene.