News and Press Releases

Landscaping Executive Pleads Guilty to Evading Employment Taxeses Here

April 24, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. – Mark S. Holpe, 61, of Midlothian, Va., pled guilty today to evading the payment of federal Employment Taxes on unreported cash wages he paid employees of Nature’s Way Landscaping, Inc.  Holpe acknowledged evading the assessment of $326,196 of employment taxes.

            Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Eric C. Hylton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Washington, D.C., Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States Magistrate Judge M. Hanna Lauck. 

            Holpe faces a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced on July 27, 2012, by United States District Judge James R. Spencer.

            Holpe worked for Nature’s Way, a business that did residential and commercial landscaping in the Richmond metro area.  He was originally the President but sold a portion of the business in 2007 and became the Treasurer.

            In entering his plea, Holpe acknowledged that he had two groups of employees during tax years 2006 through 2009.  One group of approximately 12 employees was leased from an employee leasing company that accounted for the employment taxes and paid the employees approximately $1,184,216 in wages over the four-year period.  Approximately 30 individuals were employed directly by Natures Way, which paid them $2,132,000 in wages during the same period.  The work and services performed by the leased employees was indistinguishable from that performed by the employees paid in cash or by check.

            Holpe admitted that he paid the second group in cash, without withholding social security taxes.  He also did not issue them Forms W-2 or 1099, or file Employer’s Quarterly Tax Returns for them.  He further admitted that, when supplying expense information to the company’s tax preparer for years 2006 through 2009, he did not identify the employees who were paid in cash. 

            The case is being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service. Assistant United States Attorney David T. Maguire is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States. 

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at or on


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