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Press Release

Jersey County Man Convicted Of $1.2 Million Dollar Tax Evasion And Unlawful Firearms Possession

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

A Jersey County resident pleaded guilty to felony charges of tax evasion and possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances on July 23, 2013, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. David Ray, 54, of Fieldon, Illinois, waived his right to face a grand jury indictment and pled guilty to charges brought directly by the US Attorney’s Office.

Documents filed in District Court established that Ray committed tax evasion by using his various businesses to pay personal expenses, by vesting ownership of personal assets in the name of his businesses, and by filing false tax returns with the IRS or refusing to file a US Individual Tax Return all together. In tax years 2005-2010, Ray concealed income from the IRS for the purpose of limiting his tax liability resulting in him avoiding $1,272,904.83 in federal income taxes that he otherwise would have been required to pay. Ray agreed to make full restitution to the IRS as a condition of his guilty plea.

Ray was also convicted for possessing firearms while being a cocaine user. Evidence presented at the plea hearing established that federal agents seized 96 firearms and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition from Ray’s home when it was searched on February 13, 2012. In addition, agents also seized 110 grams of cocaine from Ray’s home. Ray admitted possessing the firearms as a hunter and gun collector. But he also acknowledged a serious cocaine habit, admitting that he purchased and used 3-5 ounces of cocaine every 2-3 weeks prior to his home being raided. Under federal law, drug users are categorically prohibited from possessing firearms.

Tax evasion is punishable by not more than five years in prison, and/or a $100,000 fine, and not more than three years of supervised release. Possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances is punishable by not more than 10 years in prison, and/or a $250,000 fine, or both, and not more than three years of supervised release. However, the United States Sentencing Guidelines must be applied to the case and considered by the Court during sentencing. Ray will be sentenced in US District Court on November 8, 2013.

US Attorney Wigginton said, “We will zealously pursue gun crimes wherever they occur. This case was unique because it is rare to see complicated white-collar tax crime alongside gun and drug offenses. This case is a model for how state and federal agencies should partner to successfully combat diverse criminal activity. I would like to personally thank each of the agencies for working tirelessly to ensure that this case was brought to justice.”

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Internal Revenue Service / Criminal Investigations, the Jersey County Sheriff’s Department, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

Updated February 19, 2015