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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Iowa business owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

DES MOINES, IA – On March 10, 2022, Penny Layne Witt appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to evade or defeat tax. Witt is scheduled to be sentenced June 27, 2022, by United States District Court Judge Stephanie Rose. The charge of attempting to evade or defeat tax carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; a maximum fine of $100,000; and a term of up to three years of supervised release.

According to court documents, Witt operated a tree trimming business under the names Ultimate Tree Service and Spruces Tree Service. She did not keep business records that listed work and gross receipts and did not have business or individual bank accounts. Witt conducted all business in cash and knowingly and intentionally paid all her employees in cash.

Witt admitted that she concealed records of gross income received and attempted to evade assessment of federal income tax. She also admitted that she was aware that she owed a substantial amount of federal taxes for gross income received for tax years 2016 and 2017 and that she willfully chose not to file returns for those years.

The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300 USAIAS-PAO@usdoj.gov
Updated March 15, 2022