North Carolina Seafood Distributor Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion
WASHINGTON – Jeffrey Wayne Scott, 48, of Wilmington, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. Scott was indicted on Nov. 25, 2013, for five counts of personal income tax evasion and one count of filing a false corporate tax return. He pleaded guilty to one count of willfully attempting to evade his personal income tax for tax year 2007.
According to court documents and court proceedings, Scott has owned and operated Greenville Loop Seafood (GLS), a seafood distribution company located in Wilmington, since 1995. For tax years 2006 through 2010, Scott and his wife filed joint individual income tax returns. Scott provided his return preparer with handwritten summaries of gross receipts and categorized expense items for the wholesale and retail fish distribution businesses as well as tax documents provided by financial institutions. Scott, under penalty of perjury, reported that his taxable income for these five years ranged between $23,934 and $92,999, and paid only $91,800 in federal income taxes for this time period. During these five years, however, the Scotts spent far in excess of this reported taxable income on personal expenditures.
According to court documents and court proceedings, between 2006 and 2010, the Scotts paid for nearly all of their living expenses with checks from GLS. This included, among other things, utilities, insurance premiums, landscaping, home improvements, school fees and a country club membership. They also purchased five vehicles totaling more than $200,000, a $100,000 boat and a $2.1 million waterfront home. Scott also made a monthly transfer of $10,000 from GLS' business account into a personal brokerage account. After the purchase of their home in June 2009, Scott stopped transferring funds to the brokerage account, but instead used funds from GLS' business account to pay the mortgage and related expenses. Through a bank deposit and expenditure analysis, the IRS calculated that Scott failed to report taxable income for these five years in excess of $1,151,642 and owed at least $390,678 in additional taxes. For the 2007 tax year, Scott failed to report $328,754 in taxable income with an additional tax due and owing of $113,967.
According to court documents and court proceedings, when first contacted by IRS-Criminal Investigation agents in June 2011, Scott falsely stated that he was letting friends stay in his second home rent free. Furthermore, despite being aware that he was under criminal investigation, in November 2012, Scott filed a false 2011 GLS corporate income tax return claiming the painting of his personal residence, repair work by a plumber at his personal residence, and health bills related to his family dog as business expenses.
Chief U.S. District Judge James C. Dever III scheduled the term of court to begin Aug. 18, 2014. Scott faces a statutory maximum prison term of five years and a maximum fine of $250,000.
This case was investigated by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan B. Menzer and Trial Attorney Todd A. Ellinwood of the Justice Department's Tax Division are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found at the division website.