United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins
Western District of North Carolina
CHARLOTTE BUSINESS OWNER SENTENCED TO 21 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR EVADING $1.5 MILLION IN TAXES CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Ricky Dean Hardee, a Charlotte business owner charged with tax fraud offenses, was sentenced today to 21 months in prison and three years of supervised release following incarceration, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney also accepted full prepayment of restitution in the amount of $1,525,150 made by Hardee to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins is joined in making today’s announcement by Jeannine A. Hammett, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI). Hardee, 48, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in connection with his scheme to evade approximately $1.5 million in taxes from the IRS. Hardee entered his guilty plea on June 2, 2010. According to court documents, from about 1997 to 2007, Hardee operated a successful masonry contracting business in Charlotte. From 2002 to 2007, Hardee earned gross receipts of $4.2 million from his business but failed to file income tax returns and engaged in a sophisticated scheme to conceal his income and assets from the IRS. Specifically, Hardee purchased and utilized a system of nominee entities, sham trusts and related domestic and foreign bank accounts, including a bank account in Panama and ten different domestic bank accounts, to hide money from the IRS. Subsequent to his guilty plea, Hardee cooperated with authorities by filing income tax returns and paying his back taxes.
“This case is another example of my office’s demonstrated commitment to tax enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Tompkins. “The defendant went to extraordinary lengths to evade over $1.5 million in taxes and to avoid paying his fair share. In the end, his criminal conduct earned him a federal prison sentence.”
Special Agent in Charge Hammett stated, “While taxpayers have the right to contest their tax liabilities in the courts, taxpayers do not have the right to violate and disobey tax laws.” Hardee, who has been released on bond, was permitted to self-report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by IRS. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Odulio of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.