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Dentist pleads guilty to tax evasion

July 07, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Waynesboro, Pa., dentist Wednesday pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of tax evasion and is scheduled for sentencing in October, according to an agent with the Internal Revenue Service.

Dr. Burton F. Tucker had been indicted in March by a federal grand jury on three counts for not paying approximately $400,000 in federal income taxes over a three-year period, according to an IRS press release at the time of the indictment.

Tucker, whose office is listed in the telephone directory as 237 E. Main St., evaded taxes through the "fraudulent use of a trust and an off-shore bank account to conceal his income," Andy Hromoko, a special agent and spokesman for the IRS field office in Pittsburgh, alleged Wednesday.

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The plea to the count was entered before Judge Yvette Kane, Hromoko said. Federal probation officials will do a pre-sentence investigation and report prior to Tucker's sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 17, he said.

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Hromoko said Tucker could face a prison sentence "in the range of 21 to 27 months."

Tucker's attorney, James West, said Wednesday he could not comment on the plea agreement.

The indictment alleged that Tucker attempted to conceal his income by claiming it was earned by a trust called Zubov & Associates, which was controlled by Tucker, according to the March press release from the IRS.

According to the indictment, Tucker's income for 1998, 1999 and 2000 totaled approximately $1.1 million. During that period, the IRS stated he should have paid the government more than $352,000 in income taxes, approximately $50,000 in self-employment taxes and an additional $13,700 in taxes for withdrawals from a retirement plan.

Count one of the indictment alleged that he reported income of $130,728 in 1998 and paid $31,403 in income taxes when his actual taxable income was $392,863. The indictment alleged his federal income tax bill for that year should have been $128,202, plus $15,924 in self-employment taxes.

Count two alleged he failed to file a tax return on $402,397 in taxable income for 1999 and count three alleged he failed to file a return on income of $299,612 in 2000.

"Today's court action will hopefully send a message that the IRS Criminal Investigation Division is vigilant in making sure everyone pays their fair share of taxes," Hromoko said. The IRS and U.S. Department of Justice are committed to "aggressively pursue the fraudulent use of trusts and off-shore accounts to conceal income," he said.

Trust misuse tops the IRS's "Dirty Dozen" list of tax evasion schemes, according to the IRS Web site. Off-shore transactions also made the list for 2005.

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