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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Scituate Resident Who Claimed Earnings Are Not Income Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

PROVIDENCE – A Rhode Island businessman who failed to file legitimate federal tax returns for ten years, and who falsely represented to the IRS on tax forms that he was “not a citizen of the United States” and that his earnings were not taxable, pleaded guilty on Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., to tax evasion, announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Kristina O'Connell, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, Billie R. Schofield, 63, admitted that he took numerous steps to avoid paying federal income taxes by, among other things, creating and submitting to the IRS fraudulent checks totaling more than $60,000 to settle past taxes due for tax years 2005 - 2008; creating and submitting to the IRS a fraudulent check totaling nearly $49,000 for past taxes due for tax year 2009; in 2013, instructing a corporation in which he held a minor partnership interest not to compensate him; filing false tax returns; in 2015, intercepting and concealing levies from businesses that owed him compensation; and repeatedly mailing false documents to the IRS in an effort to obstruct IRS assessments and collection efforts.

Additionally, in 2013, Schofield created a company with an Alaskan address, Sundown Services.  Over the next few years, Schofield asked that payments owed to him be made payable to Sundown Services so as to conceal his income.  He asked his girlfriend to open a bank account in the name of Sundown Services into which he had her deposit checks made payable to Sundown Services, which were actually income payments to Schofield for services rendered.

An investigation by Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation determined that from 2005 through 2009, Schofield’s tax due and owing was $201,310.  Further, although he did not file returns for Tax Years 2010 through 2016, Schofield earned $731,481.55 as income from his business partnerships, commissions from a Canadian fishing company, and proceeds from the cultivation and sale of marijuana. His total tax due the IRS for 2010 - 2016 is $227,435.  In total for tax years 2005 through 2016, Schofield evaded the payment and assessment of $428,745.01 in taxes due and owing to the IRS.

Schofield is scheduled to be sentenced on September 13, 2019. Tax evasion is punishable by statutory penalties of up to five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and a term of supervised release of three years.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Hebert and Tax Division Trial Attorney Christopher P. O’Donnell.

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Topic(s): 
Tax
Contact: 
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357
Press Release Number: 
19-49
Updated April 23, 2019