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parker hunting guide pleads guilty to failing to file income tax returns and agrees to pay $278,000 to the iRS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2013

 

DENVER – Richard K. Sears, age 65, of Parker, Colorado pled guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Marcia S. Krieger today to three counts of failing to file tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service United States Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd announced.  Sears, who is free on a bond, is scheduled to be sentenced by Chief Judge Krieger on March 4, 2014.  Sears was charged by an Information in Denver on April 10, 2013.  IRS Special Agents and Investigators with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife executed a search warrant on Sears’ residence in July of 2010.

According to the facts contained in the Information as well as the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, from 2004 through 2009 Sears owned and operated several businesses including Apache Park Land & Cattle, Inc. ("APLC"), Trophy Outfitters, Inc. ("TO"), Private Land Bucks and Bulls, Inc. ("PLBB") and Apache Park Livestock, Inc. ("APL").  Sears hunting business operated in Colorado and New Mexico and he solicited customers to travel to these two states to hunt big game such as elk, deer, and bear. The cost of hunting packages ranged from approximately $2,000 to $10,000.  His other business was a livestock business in Colorado.

During calendar years 2004 through 2009, Sear’s received significant gross income from his businesses for which he failed to file income tax return for as required by law.   He earned at least the following amounts of gross income when in fact he knew he was required to file income tax returns for these years:

Tax Year

Gross Income

2004

$ 281,763

2005

$ 382,946

2006

$   93,701

2007

$ 155,586

2008

$   75,755

2009

$ 274,953                           

Furthermore, in July of 1997, Sears purchased property in Parker, Colorado for the purpose of building a home for him and his family. The property was purchased in the wife’s name in an attempt to hinder IRS collection efforts as he was aware of back taxes he owed.  Particularly, the IRS assessed taxes against Sears several times during 1991 through 1993 and was unsuccessfully in collecting over $37,000 in taxes plus interest and penalties.  The IRS had filed tax liens against Sears for money he owed.  Once the tax liens expired in 2007, Sears executed a quit claim deed transferring ownership of the property into his name. 

The total tax loss of $ 278,274 is attributable to Sears’ endeavors to frustrate IRS collection of back taxes due and owed for calendar years 1991-1993, and the tax loss from his failures to file income tax returns for years 2004-2009.

“As citizens, we all have an obligation to file our tax returns and pay any tax properly owing,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Ignoring and circumventing tax obligations only results in a kind of ‘double trouble:’ Not only will the tax bill eventually come due with interest and penalties, but there is also the possibility of jail time and a criminal conviction.”

“Income tax fraud is based on greed, individuals who commit tax fraud are merely stealing money and creating an unfair tax burden on honest tax paying citizens. These individuals believe they will not be caught but they will be caught and brought to justice,” said Stephen Boyd, Special Agent in Charge for IRS Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. 
            
Willful failure to file a tax return with the IRS carries a penalty of not more than 1 year imprisonment, and up to a $100,000 fine, per count. 

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation with assistance from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and US Fish and Wildlife Service.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Neff and Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Kevin Sweeney.

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