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Press Release

Congressional Staffer Pleads Guilty to Failure to File Income Tax Returns

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

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Isaac Lanier Avant, of Arlington, a congressional staffer employed by the U.S. House of Representatives since 2000, pleaded guilty today to willfully failing to file an individual income tax return.

According to the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, despite earning more than $165,000 each year from 2008 through 2013, Avant failed to timely file personal income tax returns for any of those years.  Avant filed returns for tax years 2006 and 2007, but those returns each contained false deductions.  In May 2005, Avant caused a form to be filed with his employer that falsely claimed he was exempt from federal income taxes.  Avant did not have any federal tax withheld from his paycheck until the IRS mandated that his employer begin withholding in January 2013.

As part of his plea agreement, Avant agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $153,522 to the IRS, and faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison, a term of supervised release, and monetary penalties when sentenced on Jan. 17, 2017. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Caroline D. Ciraolo, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by Magistrate Judge Theresa C. Buchanan.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly and Assistant Chief Todd Ellinwood of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:16-mj-385.

Updated November 16, 2016