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Press Release

Businesswoman sentenced for tax evasion

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

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Missouri woman was sentenced to six months in prison followed by six months of home confinement after keeping money that her company collected as payroll taxes from employees instead of sending the funds the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as required by federal law.

According to court documents, Chelli Payne, 59, of Raymore, Missouri, pleaded guilty to one count of failing to account for or pay over employment taxes. 

A Family Tree Enterprises (AFTE), is a business in Olathe, Kansas, providing day and residential services to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. AFTE withheld taxes from its employees' paychecks, including federal income taxes. 

Based on her position with the company, it was Payne’s responsibility to oversee collecting and paying over employment taxes to the IRS on behalf of AFTE. In most quarters between the second quarter of 2015 and 2019, Payne failed to pay over the withheld employment taxes causing a tax loss to the IRS of $1,055,367.

A federal judge also ordered Payne to pay restitution in the amount of $1,055,367.

IRS- Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Oakley prosecuted the case.


Updated June 27, 2024