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Press Release

Congressional Staffer Pleads Guilty to Failure to File Income Tax Return

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A congressional staffer pleaded guilty today to willfully failing to file an individual income tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.

According to court filed documents, Issac Lanier Avant, a resident of Arlington, Virginia, is a staff member who has been employed by the U.S. House of Representatives since approximately 2000.  Despite earning more than $165,000 each year from 2008 through 2013, Avant failed to timely file personal income tax returns for any of those years.  Avant filed returns for tax years 2006 and 2007, but those returns each contained false deductions. 

In May 2005, Avant caused a form to be filed with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes.  Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2017.  Avant faces a statutory maximum sentence of one year in prison, a term of supervised release and monetary penalties.  As part of his plea agreement, Avant agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $153,522 to the IRS.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Boente thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website

Updated November 16, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-1334