A Lake Elmo couple have been charged with a combined 18 felony counts for falsifying their state income tax returns, failing to file returns over a five-year period and failing to file sales tax returns on a business.

From 2003 to 2007, according to the criminal complaint filed this month in Washington County District Court, James G. Stuecken, 43, and his wife, Andrea J. Stuecken, 35, underpaid their state income taxes by nearly $562,000. James Stuecken faces 13 charges, while Andrea faces five aiding and abetting charges related to taxes.

They are accused of falsifying state returns in 2003, 2004 and 2006, and of not filing returns at all for 2005 and 2007. A Minnesota Department of Revenue investigation also found that the last corporate income tax return filed by Stuecken Enterprises was in 2001.

Nutrition City, another business owned by James Stuecken, did not file sales tax returns in 2007 and 2008, nor were corporate tax returns filed from 2003 to 2007.

In 2004, they claimed income of $19,843, but made mortgage payments of $25,843, and in 2006 the income claim was $37,375 with mortgage payments of $30,092, the complaint says.

When questioned about the disparity, the complaint says, James Stuecken told an investigator: "It's tough, but I get by."

According to the complaint, Stuecken said he had received letters from the Minnesota Department of Revenue, but threw them away.

Jim Anderson • 612-673-7199