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Press Release

Virginia Resident Indicted for Employment Tax Evasion and Obstructing the IRS

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A federal grand jury in Roanoke, Virginia, returned an indictment today, charging a Virginia resident with evading payment of employment taxes and attempting to obstruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen for the Western District of Virginia. 

According to the indictment, Jeffrey Tharpe was the owner and operator of Shearin Construction Inc. (Shearin Construction), an excavating and heavy construction business located in Charlotte County. From 2002 through 2013, Tharpe allegedly caused payroll taxes to be withheld from Shearin Construction’s employees’ wages, but failed to fully pay them over to the IRS.  In an attempt to make it appear that Tharpe had no ownership interest in the company or its funds, Tharpe allegedly placed the company and its assets in his wife’s name.  When the IRS attempted to collect the outstanding payroll taxes from Tharpe’s wife, Tharpe allegedly caused his wife to transfer her interest in real property to him and then encumbered the property with fake debts to place it beyond the IRS’s reach.  The indictment alleges that Tharpe owes more than $940,000 in employment taxes, interest, and penalties. 

If convicted, Tharpe faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison for tax evasion, and three years in prison for obstructing the IRS. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Cullen commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Alexander Effendi and William Montague of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case.

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

Updated June 19, 2020

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 20-567