HELENA, Montana – A former college president and her husband have been found guilty of a tax crime in Montana and will be spending the next few months behind bars.
Melody Henry, who previously served as the president of Stone Child College, and her husband, Frank, have been sentenced to five months in prison for committing federal income tax fraud. In addition, the couple has been ordered to repay more than $47,000.
The couple was sentenced last week on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Brian Morris, following a plea deal with prosecutors back in April, when the duo agreed to plead guilty to filing a false tax return.
According to prosecutors, the couple lied on their 2012 tax returns, claiming to have incurred business expenses and losing over $145,000. However, their tax crimes go further back – all the way to 2009.
This past February, a jury acquitted the Henrys after they were accused of taking kickbacks from a construction company. The owner of the company had previously been convicted for corruption charges related to the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation.
As is the case when negotiating a plea bargain, the Henrys were able to walk away with drastically reduced penalties. Prosecutors agreed to drop the tax fraud charges in exchange for the Henrys entering the guilty pleas.
Though their sentence included incarceration, they could have been ordered to spend several years in jail instead of five months. Individuals who file a fraudulent return can face up to $250,000 in fines or $500,000 when the fraud pertains to corporate taxes.
Tax fraud is a serious crime, and those who are convicted are subject to several life-changing penalties. Not only can a tax crime conviction lead to exorbitant fines and imprisonment, but it can also hinder the individual’s ability to both keep an existing job and obtain employment. It can also affect the convicted person’s likelihood of obtaining financial aid.
Anyone who is facing a tax fraud charge in Montana should consult with a tax lawyer for assistance as soon as possible. Without an experienced legal team, those accused of the crime can face a lengthy uphill battle in court and will likely get hit with the maximum penalties for the charge.
Montana tax attorneys know how to fight for their clients’ rights. They will review the case thoroughly and will work toward getting the charges completely dropped or significantly reduced.
Aside from representing clients who are facing criminal tax charges, tax lawyers can also assist with a variety of other IRS matters, including the preparation of company payrolls, determining property taxes, handling audits, and contesting wage garnishments. Help is offered to both individuals and corporations. However, regardless of the matter at hand, any type of issue involving the IRS should be dealt with swiftly to prevent additional penalties from being assessed.