Maryland Chiropractor Sentenced To Prison For Filing False Tax Returns And Obstructing IRS
Filed Tax Returns for Seven Years Reporting $0 in Business Income
A former Salisbury, Maryland chiropractor was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for filing fraudulent income tax returns and attempting to obstruct the internal revenue laws, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur for the District of Maryland.
According to the evidence presented in court, Dr. Warren Gregory Belcher, 60, operated a chiropractic business for nearly 20 years. During that time, he received income for chiropractic services from insurance companies, patients and other third parties, including another chiropractor in Baltimore. From 2009 through 2015, Belcher filed individual income tax returns that fraudulently claimed that he had earned no business income, when, in fact, the evidence at trial established that he received total payments of more than $350,000 during that time period. Belcher filed his false 2015 tax return after being notified that he was the target of a federal grand jury investigation. He filed an additional false tax return for 2016 while under indictment and awaiting trial.
The evidence introduced at trial included dozens of letters that Belcher sent to insurance companies and other third parties in which he threatened that the companies could be subject to civil and criminal penalties for reporting to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) payments they made to him for his services. Belcher also made threatening statements to an accountant to prevent the accountant from reporting his income to the government. Belcher himself also submitted fraudulent forms to the IRS in an effort to falsely represent that companies that had reported his income to the IRS had not actually paid him that income.
For the years 2009 and 2011, the IRS mailed Belcher notices informing him that his returns underreported his income. The IRS also assessed additional taxes and penalties against Belcher for his fraudulent returns, including a $5,000 penalty for filing a frivolous tax return. Belcher responded to these IRS notices by sending letters to the IRS asserting that the IRS was violating the law by assessing and collecting his taxes.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett ordered Belcher to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $63,763.58and serve one year of supervised release.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Hur commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean R. Delaney and Tax Division Trial Attorney Melissa S. Siskind, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.