Kenai Man convicted of tax evasion and remanded to jail, pending sentencing
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that Michael A. Spisak, a resident of Kenai Alaska, d.b.a. Ram Aviation and Hunt and Fish, Alaska, LLC, was found guilty of tax evasion by a jury in federal court.
Spisak, 49, was convicted after a jury trial before Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline and remanded to jail pending sentencing.
According to the evidence introduced at trial, Michael Spisak is a commercial pilot who has worked as a hunting and fishing assistant guide and transporter since the 1980's. The jury found that Spisak was responsible person for not paying over the income taxes, social security taxes and medicare taxes withheld from employees of two companies which Spisak either controlled or owned, namely TransNorthern Aviation, Inc. and Bellair, Inc. As a result in 2005, Spisak was personally assessed tax penalties totaling in excess of $200,000.
To evade the payment of the tax penalties, the evidence presented at trial showed Spisak engaged in several acts of tax evasion: he created nominee companies to hold aircraft which he either used in his businesses or controlled; he created an overseas bank account in Belize; he placed assets in the names of others; he paid creditors but not the United States government; he caused his financial obligations to be paid through or in the names of others; he transferred funds through the bank accounts of his children and he provided false or incomplete information to the IRS and to his tax preparer. The purpose of these actions was to evade taxes properly due and owing.
The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Spisak. “The real victim of tax fraud is the honest taxpayer - the person who pays their taxes and trusts that everyone else does the same,” said Kenneth Hines, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in the Pacific Northwest. “By investigating those who attempt to hide their assets and evade their taxes, IRS Criminal Investigation helps assure the honest citizen of the integrity of our nation’s tax system.”
Chief Judge Beistline scheduled sentencing for January 10, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. The law provides for a total maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler praised the work of the investigative team and further noted, “The vast majority of American citizens and businesses calculate and pay all federal taxes. We continue to vigorously pursue those who take active steps to hide, cheat and withhold monies properly due as part of their tax obligations.”