Greene County Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Avoid Paying $585,000 in Federal Taxes
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Greene County, Mo., man has pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in assisting co-conspirators to avoid paying $585,000 they owed in federal taxes.
Alton Louis Vaughn, Sr., 58, of Greene County, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, to participating in a conspiracy from February 2009 to Sept. 30, 2014, to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful government functions of the Internal Revenue Service in the ascertainment, computation, assessment, and collection of federal taxes.
Vaughn, who is self-employed, derived a portion of his income from assisting in the preparation of federal income tax returns, advising taxpayers regarding their dealings with the IRS, and representing others in their dealings with the IRS.
Vaughn admitted that he assisted a co-conspirator in an attempt to avoid paying taxes on approximately $4.7 million in business receipts. Vaughn advised and assisted the co-conspirator’s attempts to avoid IRS efforts to ascertain, compute, assess, and collect federal income taxes, and sometimes acted as his representative in dealings with the IRS.
Vaughn admitted that he attempted to impede a federal criminal investigation by falsely reporting to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration that an IRS revenue officer and an IRS criminal investigator had coerced, intimidated and threatened this co-conspirator. Vaughn also attempted to impede a federal grand jury in its investigation by refusing to comply with federal grand jury subpoenas for tax and business records and by sending correspondence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office falsely stating that an IRS revenue officer had personally seized and collected documents. Vaughn admitted that he falsely testified before the grand jury that an IRS revenue officer had seized those records.
Vaughn further attempted to impede a federal grand jury in its investigation by counseling another person to refuse to testify before the grand jury, and by providing her with a written statement (which contained an inaccurate statement of the law) to read to the grand jury in lieu of complying with her legal obligation to testify.
Vaughn also admitted that he assisted another couple to impede IRS efforts to collect the taxes the couple owed. They refused to comply with IRS requests and summonses for documents and records. Instead, they presented an explanation they knew to be false when they claimed their documents and records had already been provided to an IRS revenue officer. Vaughn told them that, because this IRS revenue officer had died, there was no way the IRS could prove the statement was untrue. This client also testified in a summons enforcement hearing in federal court and falsely stated that he had provided all of the personal tax records to the IRS revenue officer.
Additionally, while not admitting the allegations, Vaughn acknowledges the government could prove that he engaged in a scheme to defraud another taxpayer, who was his client. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the government will not separately charge Vaughn for this conduct, and Vaughn must pay the client $3,595 in restitution, which is the amount Vaughn received from the client as compensation for his services.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Vaughn must pay the government approximately $585,710 in restitution, which is the amount of taxes he attempted to aid his co-conspirators to avoid.
Under federal statutes, Vaughn is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.