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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

Monday, June 4, 2018

Berrien County Resident Sentenced To 36 Months In Prison For Federal Tax Evasion

Lori Lynn Pawielski ordered to pay $511,433 to the Internal Revenue Service

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that Lori Lynn Pawielski, 52, of Buchanan, Michigan, was sentenced to three years in federal prison for tax evasion. The Honorable Robert J. Jonker, U.S. District Judge, also ordered Pawielski to serve three years of supervised release following prison and to pay $511,433 in restitution to the IRS and $1,962,611 in restitution to private party victims.

          Pawielski’s sentencing was the result of her pleading guilty to one count of attempting to evade or defeat tax for calendar year 2015 by preparing and signing a false and fraudulent Form 1040 tax return. The charge alleged that the Form 1040 tax return falsely claimed that her taxable income was $149,160 when in fact it was $330,166. The charge also alleged that the tax due and owing for calendar year 2015 was $84,516, not $28,941 as reported on the tax return. She admitted those facts, and also was held responsible for additional tax due and owing for calendar years 2009-2014.

          Pawielski’s tax evasion arose out of her embezzlement of more than $1.9 million from her former employer between 2009 and 2016 by writing 271 checks to herself without authorization. She further admitted that she concealed her embezzlement by altering the company’s accounting software to make it appear those checks were issued to suppliers. Pawielski admitted that she failed to report that additional income to the IRS on her 2009-2015 federal tax returns.

          U.S. Attorney Birge remarked, “Ms. Pawielski must pay a debt to society in terms of prison time and pay back her former employer what she stole and pay the government what she owes in taxes. The message should be clear here: Those who cheat on their taxes will be both brought to justice and made to pay what they owe. If you’re attempting to evade your taxes, we will work with the Internal Revenue Service to make sure you are held accountable and pay your fair share.”

          This matter was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor.


Updated June 5, 2018