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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Wyoming Couple Indicted for Tax Evasion

In an indictment unsealed on June 12, 2013, Robert and Judy Sathre, of Sheridan, Wyo. were charged by a federal grand jury in Cheyenne, Wyo., for conspiring to defraud the IRS and tax evasion relating to taxes owed by Robert Sathre for tax years 1995 and 1996. Judy Sathre was also charged with filing a false tax return for tax year 2007.

According to the indictment, Robert Sathre sold a Minnesota business and received installment payments in 1995 and 1996 for more than three million dollars. Robert Sathre concealed his income by filing a 1995 tax return in which he reported only $64,928 in total income. Robert Sathre then purchased land and set up another business, a gas station/convenience store in Sheridan, Wyo. known as the Rock Stop.
According to the indictment, the Sathres concealed assets by opening a foreign bank account in the Caribbean island of Nevis and by using purported trusts. In a ten-month period spanning 2005-2006, Mr. Sathre sent over $500,000 to the account in Nevis to keep the funds out of reach from the IRS. When Robert Sathre sold the Rock Stop in 2007, he had over $1,250,000 from the sale proceeds wired to the trust account of a Wyoming law firm. Later the Sathres directed the law firm to wire $900,000 from the trust account to their account at the Bank of Nevis. They also provided a false declaration and false promissory note to the Bank of Nevis to conceal the source of this transfer. Robert Sathre obtained a debit card linked to the foreign account to access funds locally. He also provided the Bank of Sheridan with an IRS form on which he falsely claimed that he was neither a citizen nor a resident of the United States.

The indictment also alleges that the Sathres tried to conceal their ownership of real estate. They used a purported trust to encumber their residence at Troon Place in Sheridan and to conceal their ownership of property in Hennepin County in Minnesota. To conceal ownership of the Rock Stop, they similarly used a second purported trust, at one point resigning as trustees and appointing their teenage daughter as the trustee.

The indictment also charges Judy Sathre with one count of filing a false tax return for 2007. The indictment alleges that the return was false both for reporting only $42 in interest income and for failing to disclose that she had a financial interest and signatory authority over the bank account at the Bank of Nevis.

A trial date has not been scheduled. An indictment is merely an accusation, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The conspiracy and tax evasion charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The false return charge carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Ellen Quattrucci and Ignacio Perez de la Cruz of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and was investigated by IRS – Criminal Investigation.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014