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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Owner of Plumbing Businesses Pleads Guilty to Employment Tax Fraud

Caused Tax Loss of More Than $550,000

A Montana businessman pleaded guilty today to employment tax fraud.

According to court documents, Thomas O’Connell owned and operated three plumbing businesses, Quality Plumbing and Heating, Orbit Plumbing and Heating, and Orbit PHC, each based in Great Falls. From at least 2005 through 2016, O’Connell did not pay employment taxes for several quarters, despite being obligated to ensure such taxes were paid to the IRS. Instead, he directed payments to other creditors and to his own personal expenses. The total tax loss to the IRS from O’Connell’s conduct is more than $550,000.

O’Connell is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24, 2021, and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson for the District of Montana made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Mark S. Determan of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon of the District of Montana are prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
21-265
Updated March 24, 2021