A 65-year-old Inver Grove Heights man was sentenced Friday to two years in federal prison for hiding income from the IRS that he earned from used-car sales at an unlicensed and illegal dealership.
In sentencing James Francis Violin, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis also ordered him to pay $96,599.76 in restitution.
Violin pleaded guilty to income tax evasion in November 2014 after being indicted that May. According to his plea and other court documents, Violin had agreed to pay the IRS nearly $100,000 in outstanding taxes in 2008 but instead hid income earned while operating a used-car dealership in 2012 and 2013. Violin admitted to putting money into cashier’s checks and using bank accounts that were opened under another name and Social Security number to avoid detection.
According to a complaint filed last year in federal court, Violin had failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in income taxes since 1999 and had failed to file income tax returns since 2006. While operating the dealership, Violin collected sales tax and registration fees from customers and earned “substantial amounts of cash revenue,” while withholding taxes and fees from state officials.
Violin was originally indicted on a charge of structuring bank deposits, or depositing money into bank accounts in amounts less than those required to be reported by financial institutions. According to that indictment, Violin made more than $200,000 worth of such deposits. When he pleaded guilty to income tax evasion, 18 counts of structuring were dismissed.
“Taxpayers thinking about participating in fraudulent tax schemes, including failing to report all forms of income, should stop in their tracks and simply look at the consequences of taking the next step,” said IRS special agent in Charge Shea Jones.