Diocese accountant faces tax evasion charges

The minute the Internal Revenue Service begins to take an undue interest in a person's financial matters, it is time to consult with an attorney experienced in any and all the aspects of tax law. The potential for severe penalties in the event of a trial and conviction are such that anyone in the Washington, D.C., region should be ready to take assertive action early to protect their interests.

This is true if whether the jurisdiction is federal or state. And it goes for individuals outside of the D.C. area, as well, as a former accountant for a Roman Catholic archdiocese in another state is finding. The 51-year-old man had served as the accounting director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from 1995 to 2012.

He was put on leave at the start of the year for alleged violations of archdiocesan policies and later was charged with diverting $670,000 from church coffers. More recently, he also was charged with filing fraudulent state tax returns. Specifically, he's accused of having evaded more than $48,000 in taxes between 2006 and 2011.

According to the original complaint, this man allegedly redirected archdiocese checks to himself and used the money to pay for personal expenses, credit card debts and tuitions to private schools for his children. The suspected theft was reportedly uncovered in the course of an audit of financial irregularities.

It's not clear what the status of the overall case is at the time this post is being written. Nor is it known whether federal charges are likely to follow those that have been leveled by the state. Media reports don't even indicate whether the man has entered a plea in connection with any of the charges.

It's important to remember that regardless of the visceral reaction one might have to a case such as this, there is a presumption of innocence that must be granted to this man. And pending any outcome of his case, he is entitled to the most vigorous defense possible.

Source: TwinCities.com, "Former archdiocese employee faces additional charges over tax returns," Emily Gurnon, Nov. 14, 2012

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