Local Businessman Sentenced For Tax Evasion And Unemployment Benefits Fraud
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today that James L. Quirin, 59, of Sauget, Illinois, was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, a $500 special assessment, and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $44,670.00 to the Illinois Unemployment Compensation Fund and $384,780.36 to the Internal Revenue Service. Quirin pled guilty to one count of Theft of Government Funds, three counts of Tax Evasion, and one count of Filing a False Tax Return.
“Mr. Quirin has finally been held accountable for his serial criminal activity. He is now a convicted felon, admitted liar and admitted tax cheat who will spend the next 27 months in a federal prison. Thereafter, he will be on federal supervised release for three years during which time he will be monitored closely and required to pay all of his debts to the government. Every time he stole from the unemployment program he took taxpayer monies that should have gone to legitimately unemployed persons who are trying to find jobs,” said United States Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.
As revealed in court, these felony counts were based on the following conduct. Quirin applied for Unemployment Insurance benefits in February, 2009, even though he was a gainfully employed businessman receiving significant income. However, most of the payments he received were made out to the names of other business entities with which he was associated. In March 2009, in order to conceal his true income, he began converting these checks to cash at a money services business located at a tavern in St. Louis (over $900,000 through January 2013.) In order to receive the full benefit payments, the State of Illinois requires that beneficiaries report weekly that they looked for and were available to work, and that they had not worked. Quirin repeatedly and falsely informed the State of Illinois that he met these criteria, even though he had worked, had been paid, and on some occasions was unavailable to work because he was vacationing in Costa Rica.
State unemployment programs are funded by the federal government. During the period that Quirin claimed federally subsidized unemployment benefits, February 2009 through October 2010, Quirin fraudulently received government funds in the amount of $44,670.00.
On July 22, 2008, the Internal Revenue Service issued to Quirin a Notice of Federal Tax Lien Filing for the 2006 tax year in the amount of $93,844. Quirin did not pay the tax in spite of the substantial funds he was cashing through the tavern. On September 30, 2009, Quirin made a formal offer in compromise in the amount of $5,500 for his 2006 tax debt in which he claimed that his only income was unemployment compensation. Quirin also evaded payment of substantial income tax for 2008 and 2010.
On July 13, 2010, Quirin made and filed an income tax return for 2009 in which he understated the gross receipts of his business by over $100,000. The return was verified by a written declaration that it was made under penalties of perjury.
These matters were investigated by Special Agents of the Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Quinley.