Vermont Businessman Sentenced to Prison For Tax Evasion, Identity Theft

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A Vermont businessman has been sentenced to prison for tax evasion and identity theft following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

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According to a report from the Department of Justice, Blakely H. Jenkins, Sr., 61, pleaded guilty to two counts of evasion of employment taxes and a single count of identity theft in February 2022.

Jenkins was sentenced to one year and one day in prison for committing these crimes while operating his business, Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. The former business owner was also sentenced to two years of supervised probation following his release in 2023.

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Vermont Business Magazine noted that "Jenkins evaded employment taxes from mid-2015 to mid-2020 by paying his employees “off the books” wages either in cash or in checks falsely denoted as being for non-wage purposes."

To accomplish this, he falsified records, created bogus documents, and signed another person's signature without permission.

In total, Jenkins’s painting company evaded taxes on over $1.3 million in employee wages, resulting in over $340,000 in unpaid federal taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

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Per the Department of Justice:

“Investigating and prosecuting white collar offenses is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest. “We will continue to work closely with the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service and our other excellent law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who line their own pockets at the expense of others, whether by avoiding their tax obligations, collecting benefits to which they are not entitled, or defrauding victim individuals or companies.”

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As part of the Senate's recent approval of the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS is set to receive an additional $80 billion in funding, which will purportedly help the agency continue pursuing cases against tax evaders.

What do you think about Jenkins's sentence?

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