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Press Release

Grand Jury Returns Indictment Charging Utah Resident With Tax Evasion, Assisting In Preparation Of False Documents

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

SALT LAKE CITY – A federal grand jury returned an indictment Thursday afternoon charging a Price, Utah, resident with one count of tax evasion and eight counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false/fraudulent documents.  At the time of the alleged crimes, he lived in Draper and Bluffdale.

The indictment alleges James Cunningham attempted to evade payment of federal income taxes he and his spouse owed for calendar years 2000, 2001, and 2013 – an amount of approximately $450,000 in income tax, penalties, and interest. The charges allege Cunningham took several affirmative steps to evade paying taxes, including having a person identified in the indictment as M.C. open a personal bank account at Nevada Bank & Trust which he used for his own purposes.  M.C. never used or accessed the account, according to the indictment.

Cunningham used the bank account to receive commissions he earned from his sale of insurance products.  As an example, the indictment alleges a deposit of $3,874.50 was made around May 15, 2013.  By depositing the money into an account he controlled but was not named on, Cunningham concealed his income from the United States.  In another instance, the indictment alleges that in June 2014 Cunningham caused $99,999.99 of his commissions to be deposited into a bank account held by J.C.

The indictment also alleges Cunningham used other people to obtain insurance licenses so he could sell insurance products and earn income under other names. In one instance, according to the indictment, he had M.C. obtain a life insurance license.  Cunningham, the indictment alleges, used M.C.’s license to earn commissions totaling $18,891.02. Cunningham also used and controlled bank accounts belonging to other people to receive commission income.

The eight counts of aiding or assisting in the preparation of false or fraudulent documents charge Cunningham with willfully aiding and assisting in the preparation and submission of several different tax forms that were submitted to the IRS. The indictment alleges the returns were materially false and fraudulent and that at the time of preparation and submission to the IRS, Cunningham knew the taxpayers were not entitled to claim deductions in the claimed amounts and that the reported income was false.

A summons will be issued to Cunningham to appear for an initial appearance on the charges. The tax evasion count carries a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison.  Each of the eight counts of aiding and assisting a fraudulent tax return carries a three year maximum sentence.

Indictments are not findings of guilt.  Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City is prosecuting the case.  IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents are conducting the investigation.

Updated February 28, 2020