Duluth businessman faces long prison term for tax crimes

Published On: 15th August 2012

Criminal tax issues can be severe.

From the internet news:

The St. Louis County Attorney’s Office is seeking a prison sentence that falls outside of the regular sentencing guidelines for a Duluth businessman who is accused of stealing approximately $800,000 from the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Kevin Charles Owens, 51, is charged with theft, failure to pay income tax, failure to pay over state funds, and failure to file a tax return – four felonies. All of these crimes are in connection with an erroneous refund of $782,962.

Owens’ pretrial hearing that was scheduled for August 13 was postponed. His trial was to start august 28th, but it has now been delayed to January 29, 2013.

Owens owned Owens Yacht Sales in Duluth when he was charged with the crimes in 2010.

Approximately 20 months after the charges were filed, on May 24th, he was arrested on a warrant for not showing up to court. He was found at southeastern Minnesota’s Goodhue County Campground and was in custody until August 10th when he was given supervised release.

The conditions of his release are that he must not leave the state and that he must meet with his probation officer once a week.

Nathaniel Stumme, the St. Louis County prosecutor, filed a notice with the court of the state’s intent to seek a sentence that is higher than the sentencing guidelines due to the major economic offense and the monetary loss that was greater than what is usually involved in the typical offense.

The criminal complaint states that the Department of Revenue issued two checks to Owens Yacht Sales Inc. on March 18, 2008 in the amounts of $221,982.06 and $560,980.12. The department says they erroneously issued the checks due to a complicated internal accounting error and human error.

Bank records show that Owens cashed the checks on March 25, 2008. When the department discovered that the checks were mistakenly issued, Owens was notified of the error and received repeated requests to return the money or make payment arrangements. He refused to comply.

In July 2008, the examiner for the Revenue Department received a letter from Owens with his intent to appeal the notices he received regarding the refund mistake. Also in July, Owens allegedly told an employee with the Revenue Department that he had been hassled enough, so his intention was to keep the money. Bank records shows that the entire amount was spent within a matter of months.