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Press Release

ATM Installer Sent to Prison for Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Tulsa man, who attempted to prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from collecting more than $200,000 in taxes, penalties and interest he owed for 2005, and didn’t file tax returns for the years 2006 through 2012, despite earning commissions totaling nearly $5 million during these years, was sentenced in federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, today by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frizzell to 24 months in prison, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Trent Shores.

John D. Petrig, 49, of Tulsa, pleaded guilty on Feb. 5, 2019, to one count of tax evasion. From 2000 to 2012, Petrig worked for a company as an independent contractor installing ATM machines inside casinos. The company paid him commissions based on the number of transactions that were executed at the ATMs. In 2012, Petrig filed his 2005 tax return with the IRS, reporting a tax due of just over $110,000. In fact, Petrig owed taxes, penalties and interest of more than $217,000 and took steps to evade payment of those funds. When the IRS sent a levy to his employer, Choice ATM Enterprises, directing his commission payments be sent to the IRS to pay his 2005 tax debt, Petrig instructed Choice to pay his future commission payments to a nominee entity, and thereby prevent those funds from being used to satisfy his tax debt. According to court documents, Petrig earned commissions totaling nearly $5 million for the years 2006 through 2012, but did not file tax returns for any of those years.

“Evading the payment of taxes constitutes serious criminal activity,” stated Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman. “In partnership with the United States Attorney’s Office and IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Tax Division is committed to holding tax evaders accountable for such criminal activity and seeking prison sentences for such crimes.”

“Petrig tried to beat the system and lost. Over a seven year period, he earned a commission income of almost $5 million and failed to pay the nearly $1 million owed in income taxes. When the United States attempted to collect those back taxes, he directed his commission payments to be sent to fictitious corporations,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores. “This egregious behavior warrants the sentence Judge Frizzell handed down today in federal court. Tax evaders beware, your criminal conduct will be brought to light, investigated, and prosecuted by the Department of Justice.”

In addition to prison, Petrig was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $974,350.48 and to serve three years of supervised release after completion of his sentence.

The Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation investigated the case. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney/ Assistant Chief Andrew J. Kameros of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Charles M. McLoughlin and Victor S. Régal prosecuted the case.

Updated June 10, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-637