A young man made a bad choice. He admitted his error, requested leniency and worked to show he had learned from his mistake. When the man presented the court with evidence of his changed ways, the prosecution argued it was not enough. The prosecution continued to demand the court apply the maximum jail sentence.
What was this poor choice? With the prosecutorial team fighting for the maximum allowable prison sentence, one may think it was a heinous offense, an extremely violent act. In fact, it was neither of these things. The crime in question was a mistake made on the man’s tax returns years earlier.
What type of mistakes were made?
The case involves a 29-year-old community college student and father to a two-month old newborn. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) accused the young man of filing a fraudulent tax return. The agency states the return included false information about his income as well as the amount of deduction and other tax withholdings.
As a result, the IRS sent him a refund for $980,000.
Why was the prosecution so aggressive in this case?
The Assistant U.S. Attorney argued that the accused was not reformed. Instead, she presented evidence the accused continued to attempt to file false tax returns with the IRS even after he was aware IRS agents were investigating his returns.
She also stated evidence of marijuana use and missed appointments with his counselor showed further proof the accused continued to make poor choices.
What can others learn from this case?
First, if you decide to argue that you are reformed, it is wise to avoid further incriminating behavior. It is likely that the court may have shown more leniency had the prosecution not presented evidence of continued false returns, drug use and missed counseling sessions.
Second, the progression of the case highlights the need to seek legal counsel on the potential ramifications of a plea deal. Although this was an outlier of a case, taxpayers that neglect to report income properly above 50% of their income can end up in the same criminal situation and Goldburd McCone is the call to make to help better ensure a more favorable outcome.