It was not stated how the Internal Revenue Service made its determination, but it was somehow determined that a 51-year-old accounting director for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis stole $670,000 from the archdiocese and used the money for personal purposes. He has been accused of filing false tax returns and tax evasion.

Ignorance of the law is never an excuse to disobey the law. As an accounting director, the 51-year-old would most likely be aware of many tax filing and other types of financial issues. One of the options that the IRS affords to people who are behind on their taxes is to negotiate or arrive at an offer in compromise. Those options may be more difficult to pursue once the IRS has made an accusation of tax evasion.

Tax evasion is a serious issue. Recall that Al Capone spent his remaining years in jail not for murder or racketeering, but for tax evasion.

According to news sources, the 51-year-old from Cottage Grove diverted $48,000 from the archdiocese to pay his personal credit card bills and private-school tuition for his children among other expenses. The alleged thefts date to 2008. The 51-year-old worked for the archdiocese from 1995 until January 2012 when he was put on leave after he accepted first-class airline tickets to Hawaii from a vendor and misused the archdiocese’s credit card.

The 51-year-old is also facing criminal charges of theft by swindle.

Whenever a tax liability issue threatens to get out of hand, it is a wise idea to obtain professional tax and legal counsel to negotiate with the IRS. It may be possible to work out a compromise rather than spend time in jail and still face a tax liability upon release.

Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, “Accountant charged with stealing $670K to pay children’s tuition now charged with tax evasion,” Ed Stych, Dec. 10, 2012