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Press Release

Five Sentenced for Conspiring to Obstruct IRS, Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Defendants Failed to Pay Taxes on $1 Million in Cash Skimmedfrom The Old Fort Western Store in Wythe County

Abingdon, VIRGINIA – Five Max Meadows residents, who skimmed over $1 million in cash from a Wythe County store then failed to pay taxes on that money, were sentenced today on federal conspiracy charges, Acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle announced.


Today in U.S. District Court, the five defendants, all from Max Meadows, Virginia, were sentenced as follows:


Gary Daniel Musick, age 46, imprisonment for a term of 18 months; fine of $10,000

Larry Dean Ball, age 68, imprisonment for a term of 12 months and 1 day; fine of $5,500

Harold Hart, age 80, probation for a term of 24 months; fine of $55,000

Katrina Rose Freeman, age 42, probation for a term of 24 months; fine of $10,000

Mary Carroll Ball, age 67, probation for a term of 24 months; fine of $5,500


Pursuant to plea agreements, the defendants each pled guilty to conspiracy to impair, impede or obstruct the lawful function of the Internal Revenue Service and to commit wire fraud. In addition, the defendants paid over $440,000 in evaded federal taxes, interest and penalties, over $100,000 in evaded state taxes, interest, and penalties, and a forfeiture of over $29,000. The United States seized over $275,000 in cash from the defendants while executing search warrants in Wythe County in August 2016.


The Old Fort Western Store is a retail facility that sells western apparel, footwear, saddles and other items in Wythe County. It was opened in the 1990s by Hart and Larry Ball. In 2009, ownership was transferred to Musick, Freeman, and another person. Hart is the grandfather of Freeman and Musick and is the stepfather of Larry Ball. Larry Ball and Mary Ball are the parents of Freeman.


Beginning in 2010, Hart, Larry Ball, Mary Ball, Freeman and Musick agreed that cash would be skimmed from the income of Old Fort, no sales tax would be paid on the skimmed cash, some of the skimmed cash would be used to pay certain employees a cash payroll in addition to their regular pay checks, some of the skimmed case would be used to pay Old Fort Partnership rent in addition to the rent check it received each month and the remainder of the skimmed cash would be disturbed to Hart, Larry and Mary Ball, Musick and Freeman and another person.


Between 2010 and 2016, the conspirators skimmed $1,121,458 in cash from Old Fort for the purpose of hiding this income from the Internal Revenue Service and the Virginia Department of Taxation.


The investigation of the case was conducted by the Bristol, Virginia, office of the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, with the assistance of the Washington D.C. Field Office, the Johnson City Office, and the Virginia State Police (Wytheville). Assistant United States Attorney Randy Ramseyer prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated September 18, 2017