New York Man Sentenced for Failing to File a Tax Return
Burlington, VT – The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that on March 19, 2012, Gar Loon Lee, 35, of New York City, was sentenced to 30 months of probation and required to pay a $25,000 fine following his conviction for failure to file a tax return. United States District Judge William K. Sessions III, sitting in Burlington, also ordered Lee to pay his outstanding tax liability along with any penalties and interest.
According to court records, in 2009, Lee brought into the United States from Canada 10 Japanese-made sports cars which had their steering wheels on the right-hand side. Once inside the United States, Lee sold these vehicles to collectors for a profit. These vehicles conformed to neither Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nor National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) regulations and Lee was not authorized to bring the vehicles into the United States. Moreover, Lee did not file a tax return in 2009 and thus did not report to the Internal Revenue Service the income he earned from the sale of the sports cars. Lee was caught by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Highgate Springs, Vermont Port of Entry on September 24, 2009 while trying to bring an eleventh vehicle into the United States. He confessed his conduct to a Special Agent with Homeland Security Investigations.
For failing to file a tax return, Lee faced a maximum term of one year in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000. As part of a plea agreement with the United States, Lee agreed to pay the maximum fine and his unpaid taxes. As part of the same agreement, the United States agreed to dismiss a charge alleging that Lee smuggled merchandise into the United States. In sentencing Lee, Judge Sessions considered his lack of a prior criminal record and acceptance of responsibility, among other factors.
This case has been investigated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, the Department of Transportation, and the Internal Revenue Service. United States Attorney Tristram J. Coffin commended the hard work and coordinated efforts of these agencies.
The prosecutor is Assistant United States Attorney Timothy C. Doherty, Jr. Lee is represented by defense attorney Lisa Shelkrot of the Burlington law firm Langrock Sperry & Wool.