Hefty sentence for tax evader

Posted: April 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

LYNCHBURG — A Winchester man who tried to conceal more than $1.4 million in income from 1999 to 2007 will serve 48 months in federal prison.

James Bowers Johnson, 47, was convicted by a jury in January for one count of obstructing the Internal Revenue Service and three counts of willfully failing to file personal tax returns.

He was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Lynchburg.

In addition to the 48 months in federal prison, Judge Norman K. Moon added 30 days of additional jail time to the end of Johnson’s sentence after finding the defendant in contempt for his behavior during Thursday’s hearing.

Assistant United States Attorney C. Patrick Hogeboom III presented evidence at trial that Johnson, who was self-employed, hid his gross income — which was derived from the sale of prepaid telephone cards, rental receipts and capital gains — from the IRS in a number of ways.

“He requested that customers place payments in a variety of nominee entities he controlled, used money orders or cash and concealed his owners of assets by placing assets, including his residence and bank accounts in the names of limited liability companies, foundations, companies, corporations and domestic and foreign trusts,” a media release states.

Additionally, the jury found that Johnson, despite earning $160,000 in income in 2005, $385,000 in 2006 and $123,000 in 2007, willfully failed to file a tax return in any of those years.

United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said that all Americans must pay their taxes.

“Instead of abiding by the law and paying his taxes, Mr. Johnson hid income from the IRS and clogged the tax adjudication system with frivolous lawsuits and court filings,” he stated in the release.

“Today’s sentence demonstrates our commitment to holding tax cheats accountable and obtaining these much-needed funds from criminals who attempt to evade their legal obligation.”

The IRS investigated the case.

— Contact Melissa Boughton at mboughton@winchesterstar.com