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Press Release

Bakersfield Owner Of Catholic Website Indicted For Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — The owner of a Catholic-interest news and information website was arrested at his home in Bakersfield this morning charged with tax evasion, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. A federal grand jury brought the four-count indictment last week, and it was unsealed today after the arrest.

Michael Galloway, 59, of Bakersfield, owns and operates the website for Catholic Online. According to court documents, Galloway generated revenue by selling advertising and hosting to faith-based businesses.

For tax years 2003 through 2006, the indictment alleges that Galloway improperly deducted personal expenses as business expenses, including his homeowner’s association fees for his personal residence, car payments and insurance, utilities and cable service for his personal residence, department store credit card bills, tile work, and personal legal fees. In addition, Galloway deducted payroll expenses for his employees including federal and FICA withholdings, but kept the withholdings and failed to remit them to the IRS.

For the four charged years, Galloway reported an income of $13,241 (2003); $28,846 (2004); -$60,438 (2005); and -$37,438 (2006), yet paid personal bills during those years of $167,318 (2003); $170,004 (2004); $135,941 (2005); and $178,458 (2006). Cumulatively, the indictment alleges that he underreported his and his spouse’s taxable income during those years by $1,006,167, resulting in an additional tax due and owing of $234,473. The indictment also alleges that he made false statements to IRS agents in 2010 when they interviewed him about his income, in an attempt to evade assessment of income taxes.

Galloway was arraigned in federal court in Bakersfield this afternoon. He pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. His next court appearance will be in federal court in Fresno on June 23, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.

This case is the product of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Megan A. S. Richards is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Michael Galloway faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison on each count and a $100,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated April 8, 2015

Press Release Number: Docket #: 1:14-cr-114 AWI