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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

Friday, January 20, 2017

Pensacola Attorney/CPA Pleads Guilty to Federal Tax Crimes

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – James R.J. Scheltema, 56, of Pensacola, has pled guilty to filing false tax returns and tax evasion. The guilty plea was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.


Between 2010 and 2013, Scheltema, a certified public accountant and attorney, received restricted stock as compensation for his legal and accounting services. He initially reported no compensation on his 2011 and 2012 individual income tax returns, despite receiving substantial compensation from stock issuance and the sale of stock. Scheltema also failed to file timely 2013 individual and corporate income tax returns for two companies he owned and operated. Scheltema tried to evade notice of stock sales by instructing checks be made payable to his wife and to one of the companies he owned, rather than to himself. After being notified of the IRS investigation, Scheltema filed amended 2011 and 2012 returns and a delinquent 2013 return, which were still false.


The sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 10, 2017, 3:00 p.m.


For each charge of filing false tax returns, Scheltema faces a maximum of three years in prison. For the tax evasion charge, he faces a maximum of five years in prison.


This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg is prosecuting the case.


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit

For more information, contact:
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer

(850) 216-3854,

Updated January 20, 2017