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joplin business owner pleads guilty to failing to pay $1.1 million in payroll taxes to iRS

November 9, 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Joplin, Mo., business owner has pleaded guilty in federal court to failing to pay over to the IRS more than $1.1 million in payroll taxes deducted from his employees’ wages over an eight-year period.

Gregory E. Crocker, 44, of Joplin, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011, to a federal information that charges him with failing to account for and pay over to the IRS the federal income taxes and Social Security and Medicare taxes deducted from employee paychecks.

Crocker was an owner and the executive officer of Ozark Memorial Park, Inc., a cemetery and marketer of pre-need funeral services in Joplin. Crocker admitted that, for the quarters ending March 31, 2002, through March 31, 2010, he failed to pay over payroll taxes to the IRS, and to file employer’s federal quarterly income tax returns. The total tax harm Crocker caused is $1,148,645.

Crocker admitted that he acted willfully, meaning that he intentionally violated a known legal duty. Crocker knew that he had a legal duty to collect, truthfully account for, and pay over to the IRS the payroll taxes of Ozark Memorial Park’s employees.

Under federal statutes, Crocker is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000 and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.

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