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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the United States Attorney
Middle District of Tennesse

Craig Morford
United States Attorney

Darryl Stewart
Assistant U.S. Attorney

RIVER TRANSPORT CORPORATION PRESIDENT
PLEADS GUILTY TO INCOME TAX EVASION

Nashville, TN – March 9, 2007 – Craig S. Morford, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced that James Ronald Hunter, 63, of Nashville, Tennessee, pled guilty today to one count of income tax evasion for calendar year 2000. Hunter faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and /or a fine of up to $250,000 , plus the cost of prosecution when he is sentenced later this year.

Hunter, President of Hunter Marine Transport, Inc. (HMT), admitted that he paid over $229,600 in personal living expenses with corporate funds from 1999 through 2001. These personal living expenses were deducted on HMT’s corporate tax returns as corporate expenses and were excluded from the income Hunter reported on his personal income tax returns for those years. During this same period of time, Hunter’s net salary was over $943,000. As part of his plea agreement, Hunter agreed that the tax loss to the government, excluding penalties and interest, was over $90,000, and he agreed to pay this in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Hunter admitted during the plea hearing that company checks were used to pay for his personal bills and invoices for maintenance and improvements for his Nashville, Kentucky Lake, and Ft. Lauderdale homes. During an audit in June or July 2002, Hunter provided an IRS auditor with an altered invoice stating it was for dock repairs at HMT. In fact, Hunter later admitted that the invoice was for a construction project of a seawall and dock at Hunter’s personal Ft. Lauderdale, Florida residence. Hunter also admitted to lying to the IRS auditor regarding the purpose of checks paid to a company called Design Collaborative, stating they were for tug boat remodeling expenses. These in fact were for payments to an interior design firm for work and furnishings for his personal residence.

This investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Darryl Stewart represented the government.

 

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