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Thursday - March 23, 2006


RALEIGH - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced the sentencing of ROBERT E. SAUNDERS, Jr., 62, of Leland, N. C., for tax evasion on Tuesday, March 21, 2006. The Honorable United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle sentenced SAUNDERS to 15 months’ imprisonment.

Robert SAUNDERS formerly owned and operated a concrete construction business in the Leland area. Prior to 1995, he operated the business as a corporation and filed corporate income tax returns. During this time, he also reported wages for himself and his wife on individual income tax returns Form 1040. In 1995, SAUNDERS dissolved his corporation and began reporting the business income on a Trust return Form 1041. SAUNDERS created various trusts which acted as nominees to which he transferred both his business assets, and his real and personal property, including his home, vehicles, bank accounts and other personal possessions. SAUNDERS attempted to deduct personal living expenses on the trust tax returns. When SAUNDERS was told by his accountant that the IRS considered the use of trusts in this manner to be abusive, SAUNDERS obtained another accountant and continued to have his personal living and other expenses deducted by the trusts.

SAUNDERS entered a guilty plea on December 15, 2005, admitting to tax evasion relating to under-reported gross receipts from his concrete business for tax year 1998. The source of the unreported funds was a substantial check received from International Paper Company, Inc. for work performed by SAUNDERS in the Riegelwood, North Carolina, area. As part of his sentence, SAUNDERS was also ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $65,531.00.

The case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Yvonne V. Watford-McKinney prosecuted the case for the United States.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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