Fairbanks Man Convicted By Federal Trial Jury for Tax Evasion
Fairbanks, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen Loeffler announced today, February 5, 2010, that Roger Lee Shoffstall, age 59, of Fairbanks, Alaska, was convicted after a five day jury trial in the United States District Court in Fairbanks one count of felony evasion of payment of income tax.
Shoffstall is the president and owner of Summit Telephone and Telegraph Company of Alaska, Inc. (Summit), which is a rural telecommunications utility that provides telephone service to several hundred customers located in remote areas north of Fairbanks. According to evidence presented at trial, Shoffstall failed to pay income taxes for the years 1996 through 2003 and that he had not filed federal individual income tax returns with the IRS for those years or any years thereafter. Instead, Shoffstall mailed simulated legal process and other documents to the IRS citing frivolous anti-tax arguments, and submitted false Form W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificates for at least four years to his employer, claiming exempt status so as to cause zero or minimal withholding from his pay.
Additional evidence presented at trial indicated that Shoffstall used his position as president of Summit to prevent the company from complying with an IRS Levy and an IRS Final Demand for Payment that would have resulted inbShoffstall’s wages being garnished. Shoffstall also failed to comply with two IRS administrative summonses that were served on him demanding payroll and personnel records. When IRS levied on his bank account, he began cashing paychecks and paying bills with money orders to avoid using the bank account. In addition, evidence at trial demonstrated that Shoffstall requested that the IRS halt collection efforts so that he could negotiate a settlement, which was never concluded, while at the same time he invested in the purchase of a $225,000 house and other items on installment payments, effectively removing these mortgaged assets from the reach of IRS collection procedures.
Assistant United States Attorneys Stephen Cooper and Thomas C. Bradley, presented the case in court. Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline presided at the trial, and has set the sentencing to take place in federal court in Fairbanks on April 16, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. Under the applicable law, Shoffstall faces a maximum total sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense(s) and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the charge in this case.