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Justice News

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Eau Claire Tavern Owner Sentenced To 18 Months For Tax Crimes

MADISON, WIS. -- - John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jared Jerome Hart, 36, Eau Claire, Wis., was sentenced today by Judge William Conley to 18 months in federal prison for filing false tax returns.  Judge Conley also ordered that Hart pay a $100,000 fine.  Hart pleaded guilty to the charge on August 12, 2014.  He was ordered to report to prison on January 4, 2015.

As part of his plea agreement, Hart will have to work with the civil collection division of the IRS for repayment of taxes.  Hart was also required to pay restitution to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue for non-payment of Wisconsin sales taxes. 

Between 2008 and 2011, Hart owned a tavern in Eau Claire called The Pickle Bar.  The Pickle Bar accepted payment only in the form of cash and at the end of each day, tavern employees would place daily sales in a safe for Hart to pick up.  Hart would bring the cash home, count it using his cash-counting machine, and then record a number for the day in his own daily calendar.  Hart would then deposit only some of the cash from the business into the business bank account. 

At the end of each month, Hart would give his accountants the payroll information, the business bank statements, the business check register, and vendor invoices.  From these records, which Hart knew were incomplete, the accountants created the official books of the business that were used for tax purposes.  Hart never told his accountants about the cash he was simply taking or “skimming” from the tavern, or the second set of books he was keeping at home.  Hart’s daily calendars were discovered during the execution of a search warrant at his home in June 2012. 

Between 2008 and 2011, there was more than a $1 million discrepancy between the gross receipts of The Pickle Bar reflected in the books the accountants maintained and the second set of books Hart maintained at his home.  Hart’s accountants used the incomplete information provided to them by Hart to generate the false Corporate Income Tax Forms for the tavern that were filed with his individual tax return for tax years 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.  The artificially low business income was used on his personal income tax return.  At the sentencing, the Court found the total tax loss to be $367,278.83. 

The charges against Hart are the result of an investigation conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.  The prosecution of this case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith P. Duchemin.

Updated July 14, 2015