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Press Release

Virginia Couple Pleaded Guilty to Tax Fraud and Structuring More Than $475,000

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Used Purported Religious Missions to Conceal Income

A Concord, Virginia, couple pleaded guilty to tax and currency structuring charges, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle for the Western District of Virginia.

Barry Edwards, 53, pleaded guilty to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct the due administration of the internal revenue laws and Joanne Edwards, 50, pleaded guilty to filing a fraudulent tax return. Both also pleaded guilty to conspiring to structure cash transactions.

According to the plea agreements and information provided to the court, Barry and Joanne Edwards created two purported religious missions in 2006, which they used as nominees to receive income Barry Edwards earned selling nutritional supplements. The Edwards deposited this income into bank accounts they held in the nominee names. The Edwards withdrew more than $475,000 in cash from the nominee accounts, in increments less than $10,000, to evade bank-reporting requirements. They deposited the funds into their personal bank accounts to pay personal expenses including car payments and their children’s tuition. Barry also used cash to purchase a five-acre farm in Concord, Virginia. The Edwards filed fraudulent 2013 through 2015 tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that did not report all of their income.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Norman K. Moon. The Edwards each face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on the conspiracy count. Barry Edwards also faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison for the corrupt endeavor to impair and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws count and Joanne Edwards faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison on the fraudulent return count. The Edwards also face a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Mountcastle thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Sean Beaty of the Tax Division and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kari Munro, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Updated August 16, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-917