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Press Release

Father and Son Business Owners Get Prison Sentences for Failing to File Taxes

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

ERIE, Pa. - Two residents of Warren, Pennsylvania, have been sentenced in federal court on their convictions of violating federal tax and currency transaction laws, Acting United States Attorney Soo C. Song announced today.

United States District Judge David S. Cercone sentenced John Branch, 45, of Warren, Pennsylvania, to 12 months and 1 day in jail, a $25,000 fine, and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $377,643.74. Judge Cercone sentenced Randall Branch, 65, of Warren, Pennsylvania to 24 months in jail, a $25,000 fine and ordered to make restitution in the amount of $420,117.40.

According to information presented to the court, the father and son defendants owned a business through which they sold oil and natural gas through various brokers. Between 2006 and 2012, the defendants received combined gross income from their oil and natural gas business in excess of $6,900,000.00. Despite their business income, the defendants stopped filing tax returns with the IRS after 1997. John Branch was sentenced for failing to file income tax returns. Randall Branch was sentenced for failing to file a tax return and of conspiring to defraud the United States for the purpose of impairing, impeding and defeating the functions of the IRS in the computation, assessment and collection of income taxes. According to the facts supporting the conviction of Randall Branch, while failing to file tax returns, he also began to dispute his obligation to pay taxes, and he challenged the authority of the IRS to assess and collect taxes. As part of the conspiracy conviction for Randall Branch, the evidence presented to the court disclosed that he avoided the financial threshold reporting requirements on the FinCEN Form 104, Currency Transaction Report (CTR) and impeded the function of the IRS to assess and collect taxes by structuring financial transactions in amounts less than $10,000.00. He then cashed those checks, regularly doing so with multiple checks, at different bank branches, on the same day.

Assistant United States Attorney Marshall J. Piccinini prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Acting United States Attorney Song commended the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of the Branches.

Updated April 25, 2017