Tax Evasion and Fraud Charges Leveled Against Local Businessman
James L. Quirin, 58, formerly of Columbia, IL, and now residing in Sauget, IL, was charged in a superseding federal indictment returned on Tuesday with four new counts alleging felony Tax Evasion and False Filing, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced. These charges were added to the original eight counts (two counts of Mail Fraud, five counts of Wire Fraud, and one count of Theft of Government Funds) charged in November 2011.
An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, that charge is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The new allegations in the superseding Indictment are as follows:
On July 22, 2008, the Internal Revenue Service issued to Quirin a Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing for the 2006 tax year in the amount of $93,844. Quirin did not pay the tax and in March 2009, in order to conceal his true income and assets, he began converting checks to cash at money services businesses (over $900,000 through January 2013.) On September 30, 2009, Quirin made a formal offer in compromise in the amount of $5,500 for his 2006 tax debt in which he claimed that his only income was unemployment compensation. In like manner, Quirin evaded payment of substantial income tax for 2008 and 2010.
On July 13, 2010, Quirin made and filed an income tax return for 2009 in which he understated the gross receipts of his business by over $100,000. The return was verified by a written declaration that it was made under penalties of perjury.
The allegations in the original and superseding Indictment are as follows:
Quirin applied for Unemployment Insurance benefits in February, 2009, even though he was a gainfully employed businessman receiving significant income. Quirin and several of his businesses were sued in federal court. Just before he was ordered to post an approximate quarter million dollars in collateral, Quirin filed a fraudulent application for unemployment benefits with the State of Illinois. Quirin then falsely told the judge that he was unemployed and had no source of income.
In reality, Quirin continued to receive significant income with most of the payments being made out to the names of other business entities with which Quirin was associated. In a practice known as “structuring,” Quirin caused payments to be split into separate checks of less than $10,000.00 to avoid his transactions being reported to the government. Quirin cashed most of his checks at a money services business located at a bar in St. Louis, Missouri, occasionally cashing structured checks on separate days. In order to receive the full benefit payments, the State of Illinois requires that beneficiaries report weekly that they looked for and were available to work, and that they had not worked. Quirin repeatedly and falsely informed the State of Illinois that he met these criteria, even though he had worked, had been paid, and on some occasions was unavailable to work because he was vacationing in Costa Rica.
The State of Illinois issues a debit card to unemployment beneficiaries. Quirin used his unemployment benefits card, which was obtained by way of the U.S. Mail, to pay expenses while vacationing in Costa Rica at such establishments as Hooters, the Monkey Bar, and the Hotel Copacabana, which resulted in wire transmissions, in San Jose and Puntarenas, Costa Rica, during time periods that he falsely claimed to be available and looking for work.
State unemployment programs are funded by the federal government. During the period that Quirin claimed federally subsidized unemployment benefits, February 2009 through October 2010, Quirin fraudulently received government funds exceeding $44,000.00.
Quirin faces up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and up to 3 years supervised release on each of the Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud counts. Quirin faces up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and up to 3 years supervised release on the theft count. Quirin faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of $100,000, costs of prosecution, and up to 3 years’ supervised release on each of the 3 counts of Evasion of Payment of Tax. Quirin faces up to 3 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $100,000, costs of prosecution, and 1 year’ supervised release for Filing a False Return.
The Superseding Indictment follows investigations by the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley and Special Assistant United States Attorney Katherine L. Lewis.