St. Johnsbury Businessman Charged with Tax Evasion and Identity Theft Offenses
The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Blakely H. Jenkins, Sr., 60, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont has been indicted by the federal grand jury in Burlington on six counts of tax evasion and one count of identity theft in connection with Jenkins’ operation of his St. Johnsbury-based painting business, Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. Jenkins was arrested on the charges today and is expected to appear in United States District Court tomorrow.
According to the indictment, Jenkins evaded employment taxes for over five years by underreporting to the Internal Revenue Service the amount of wages that Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. actually paid to its employees. Between July 2015 and October 2020, Jenkins paid employee wages partially or entirely “off the books” in two different ways: by paying them in cash, or by writing them checks falsely denoted as non-wage payments. Jenkins did not include the “off the books” cash or check wages on quarterly forms (“Forms 941”) that Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. filed with the IRS.
The indictment further alleges that Jenkins knowingly used the name of another person in connection with his commission of tax evasion.
The Acting United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.
If convicted, Jenkins faces a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $100,000 fine for each tax evasion charges, and a maximum penalty of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for the identity theft charge. The actual sentence in the event of a conviction would be determined with reference to the federal sentencing guidelines.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan Ophardt commended the investigatory work of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.
The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Cate. The defendant is represented by Jody Frey, Esq.