News and Press Releases

joplin business owner pleads guilty to tax violations,
alleged loss of nearly $5 million

August 25, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former Joplin, Mo., business owner has pleaded guilty in federal court to failing to pay employee payroll taxes to the government.

Robert W. Landis, 44, of Joplin, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr on Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, to failing to collect, or truthfully account for, or pay to the IRS federal employment taxes and federal income tax on employee wages.

Landis was the owner of Priority Personnel of Missouri and Priority Personnel of Kansas, temporary employment agencies, from December 2003 until June 2007, when he sold the companies’ assets to Peoplelink. Landis was also the owner of Loma Landis LLC, which managed residential structures known as villas and operated nearby golf courses. Landis operated Loma Landis from 2005 to 2009, when a lender foreclosed the villas.

Each of those firms deducted payroll taxes (including federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes) from employees’ pay. Landis admitted, however, that he failed to collect, truthfully account for, or pay to the IRS payroll taxes that were deducted and withheld from the paychecks of Priority Personnel of Missouri employees.

According to the plea agreement, the government asserts that the total tax loss (for sentencing and restitution purposes) is approximately $4,893,364. The government asserts the total amount of the loss includes relevant conduct arising from Landis’s failure to collect, or truthfully account for, or pay payroll taxes for Priority Personnel of Kansas and Loma Landis. The parties do not agree on the total amount of the tax loss for sentencing or restitution purposes, and reserve the right to litigate this issue at sentencing.

Under federal statutes, Landis is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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