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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Alaska

Monday, April 7, 2014

Soldotna Resident Indicted On Tax Charges

Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that James R. Back, 59, of Soldotna, Alaska, was indicted for filing false tax returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008, and willfully failing to file tax returns from 2009 through 2012.  Back was arrested at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Monday, April 7, 2014.  On Tuesday, April 8, Back was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge John D. Roberts.  Chief United States District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline has been assigned to the case for trial.     

Back did not enter a plea, and did not decide whether or not to represent himself or retain legal counsel.  Back was released pending trial under the supervision of the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office on a $10,000 unsecured bond, and ordered to return to court on Friday, April 11, for the entry of pleas and the decision on representation.   

According to the indictment, Back was employed as a pipeline technician for Alyeska Pipeline Service Company.  However, in 2007 Back sent the IRS a false “Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, Form 4852,” claiming that his wages were not income.  The indictment alleges that Back filed tax returns for 2006, 2007, and 2008 that falsely reported to the IRS that he earned no income during those years, when in fact he had earnings that totaled nearly $400,000.  Moreover, Back claimed on these false returns that he was owed refunds totaling $110,111.

The indictment further alleges that in 2008 Back provided a fictitious document entitled “Form
W-0” to his employer, asserting that his wages from the company were not “federally privileged.”  In 2011, Back sent his employer a document purporting to “revoke” his Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate.  Back willfully did not file tax returns for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, even though his total earnings during these years exceeded $500,000.

“Our tax system is predicated on the truthfulness of the individual taxpayer but some use fraud and trickery to cheat all of us,” said Kenneth Hines, Seattle Field Office Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation.  “IRS special agents are doing their job to ensure the honest taxpayers do not have to pick up the tab for those who chose not to comply with our laws by filing false or frivolous tax returns.”

Back faces up to three years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine on each of the three false return charges, and up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each of the four failure-to-file charges.  In addition, costs of prosecution are mandated by law in criminal tax cases.   

The case is being investigated by special agents with IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Bradley of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Anchorage, Alaska. 

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Updated January 29, 2015