Montana entrepreneur pleads guilty to tax evasion

The Belgrade, Montana-based co-owner of H&H Earthworks pleaded guilty on April 8 to failing to pay $2.8 million in employee and employer taxes, a felony and failing to file a quarterly filing and paying taxes, a misdemeanor, according to a US department. Declaration of Justice.

Melissa Lynne Horner, 42, instead spent some of the money on personal expenses.

From 2014 to 2019, Horner, who was responsible for the financial side of the business, funded H&H Earthworks over $100,000 on dirt bikes and snowmobiles, $90,000 on a real estate title company in Bozeman, at least $50,000 on personal renovations and $20,000. for an RV, says the DOJ.

At the same time, the company failed to pay the IRS payroll tax that was to be withheld from employees’ paychecks. The company employed between 20 and 60 workers from 2014 to 2019.

Horner faces a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release for failure to pay. Judgment is scheduled for August 10.

“As the tax filing deadline approaches, the public should know that people like Horner who willfully violate tax laws will be investigated and charged with tax offenses that could result in significant penalties, including jail time, fines and restitution,” attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

“Wage tax evasion is not only a crime against the United States government, but also a crime that affects Earthworks employees because it results in the reduction of their benefits,” said Andy Tsui, Special Agent IRS Criminal Investigations Officer, Denver Field Office. . “IRS Criminal Investigation will vigorously pursue anyone who collects these taxes and uses these funds for their own personal gain.”

In total, the DOJ says, Horner will be liable for full restitution of $2,878,522 if the court accepts the settlement at sentencing.

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