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Justice News

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

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adams Man Sentenced To Year In Prison For Filing False Tax Returns

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Rennell D. West, 62, Adams, Wis., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to one year and one day in federal prison for filing false tax returns.  West pleaded guilty to the charge on September 4, 2014. 

From 2005 to 2009, West had an ownership interest in a restaurant in Friendship, Wis., called Family Affair.  Family Affair took in 50% of its revenue in cash.  During an IRS audit, agents discovered large cash deposits on a bi-weekly basis into the personal bank account of West.  The investigation revealed that the cash deposits reflected income West earned from the restaurant. 

Proof of these deposits was not provided by West to Family Affair’s accountant, and was not included in the income figures for the restaurant on the Schedule Cs filed by West.  The income was not accounted for on West’s personal income tax returns as is required under federal law. West’s tax loss was $117,171. 

At sentencing, Judge Conley found that West had obstructed justice in the case by providing a false story to the IRS about the source of the cash deposits, by instructing his ex-wife to tell the same false story, and by deleting computer accounting records that were responsive to an IRS request for documents during the audit. 

Judge Conley said at the sentencing that he hoped this sentence would send a message to other owners of cash intensive businesses that they have a duty to accurately report their income for tax purposes. 

The charges against West were the result of an investigation conducted by the IRS Criminal Investigation.  The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith P. Duchemin. 

Updated July 14, 2015