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Justice News

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

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Colorado Springs Business Owner Charged With Filing False Returns And Structuring Deposits

DENVER – Lisabeth Melahn, age 53, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 26, 2015 on charges of filing false income tax returns and structuring cash deposits to evade reporting requirements, announced United States Attorney John Walsh and IRS Criminal Investigation Acting Special Agent in Charge Steven A. Osborne.  Melahn is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on April 10, 2015 to respond to the charges.

According to the indictment, Melahn, the owner of a Colorado Springs business, Tan Your Hide, subscribed personal income tax returns for the 2008 through 2010 tax years, knowing that the income from her S-corporation, Tan Your Hide II, listed on those tax returns was substantially understated. 

In addition, the indictment charges that on 8 separate occasions between March 31, 2010 and July 8, 2010, Melahn caused cash deposits totaling over $10,000 to be made to her personal account at American National Bank  which were split in order to circumvent the requirement that currency transactions of over $10,000 be reported. The split deposits were made either at different times on the same day or on two consecutive days.  The total of the structured deposits alleged in the indictment totaled over $100,000. 

“Filing true and timely income tax returns is not only a civic duty, it is also a legal obligation,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.  “Those who evade paying income taxes, either by not filing, or in this case, by not providing accurate income information, can end up being prosecuted to the fullest extent of federal law.”

“As April 15 is approaching, this should serve as a reminder to all taxpayers that they should file complete, timely, and accurate tax returns or they could face significant penalties; and those individuals who goes as far to commit tax fraud may find themselves facing jail time,” said Acting Special Agent In Charge Steven A. Osborne of IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. 

Melahn was charged with three counts of subscribing to a false income tax return, each of which carries a penalty of not more than 3 years in federal prison, and a fine of up to $250,000.  She is also charged with eight counts of structuring deposits to evade the CTR reporting requirements.  Because the alleged structuring involved more than $100,000 in a 12-month period, the charges carry a penalty of not more than 10 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $500,000 per count.  Included in the indictment is a notice of forfeiture for any property traceable to the structuring charges alleged in the indictment.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Linda Kaufman.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Updated June 22, 2015