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Sharon L. Potter

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Fawn E. Thomas, Public Affairs Specialist


February 4, 2009

Terra Alta Resident Entered
Guilty Plea To Tax Evasion

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA — A 64 year old Terra Alta, West Virginia, resident entered a plea of guilty on February 3, 2009, in United States District Court in Clarksburg before Judge Irene M. Keeley.

United States Attorney Sharon L. Potter announced that MELVIN L. OWENS entered a plea of guilty to one count of an Indictment charging him with tax evasion. For the tax year 2005, OWENS failed to report any personal income or pay any federal income taxes. Instead of filing a personal income tax return (Form 1040), OWENS filed a fraudulent trust return (Form 1041) that reported income of a non-existent trust named “MELVIN L. OWENS”, which claimed deductions that equaled the purported income of the trust, resulting in $0 taxable income and $0 tax due. Even after being confronted by Special Agents of the Internal Revenue Service in April 2007, OWENS continued to file fraudulent trust returns and refused to either report personal income or pay federal income taxes.

OWENS, who is currently free on bond pending sentencing, faces a maximum exposure of five years imprisonment and a fine of $100,000.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew R. Cogar. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division.



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