Former Omaha Man Sentenced for Tax Evasion
United States Attorney Deborah R. Gilg and Andrew M. Thornton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, announced that on August 25, 2015, Chet Lee West, 59, of Nebo, North Carolina, was sentenced following his conviction on felony tax charges. West was convicted on February 25, 2015, after a jury found him guilty of three counts of tax evasion relating to tax years 2007, 2008 and 2009. Chief Judge Laurie Smith Camp sentenced West to 51 months imprisonment. After his release from prison, West will begin a term of supervised release of 3 years. West was also ordered to make restitution in the amount of $439,515.81.
An investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service determined that from 2007 through 2009 West earned taxable income of approximately $272,224.00 while living and working in Omaha, Nebraska. Upon that income West had a tax due and owing of approximately $52,824.00. West willfully evaded his personal income taxes by failing to file Federal Individual Income Tax Returns for tax years 2007 through 2009. After being informed by the Internal Revenue Service that he was required to file Federal Individual Income Tax Returns, West continued to submit information to his employer in an attempt to avoid the withholding any employment taxes from his pay, including numerous letters and purported affidavits stating his position that he was not subject to taxation on his income. Between 2007 through 2009, West deposited personal income into bank accounts opened in the names of companies he created in an effort to hide and conceal his income from the Internal Revenue Service. West had not filed federal individual income tax returns since at least the 2000 taxable year. The restitution amount ordered by the Court included amounts for other years beyond the counts of conviction and also included interest and penalties.
“Today's sentence sends a loud and clear message that regardless of their opinions, those who willfully defy the tax laws will be fully investigated, prosecuted, and subjected to the full punishment of the law for their actions," said Andrew M. Thornton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation.
This case was investigated by the Department of the Treasury, Criminal Investigations.