Local man pleads guilty to tax evasion

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

COLUMBUS — An Ironton man pleaded guilty Friday to one count of failing to file a federal income tax return, according to a prepared statement from the Internal Revenue Service.

Derrick Clayton Willis, 32, now faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Willis, who owns a gas station re-imaging business, is accused of not filing an individual income tax return for 2004 even though “ he had received gross deposits of over $1.2 million,” the media release said. It was determined Willis owed and should have paid $135,618 in taxes for that year.

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The investigation into Willis’ tax evasion began when federal officials received information that Willis had underreported his income for 2002, 2003 and 2004.

Craig Casserly, spokesman for the IRS Columbus office, said specifics about how and where that agency gets incriminating information is not made public in cases such as this. He also said he did not know the actual name of the business.

As part of his bill of information plea agreement, Willis has provided federal officials with both a 2004 individual income tax return and a federal partnership return for his business. According to a statement of facts read in court Friday when Willis entered his admission, “The partnership return shows $464,273 in gross receipts which yields $125,986 in ordinary income that is attributable to Willis, and the individual return shows that Willis had received an additional $795,440 in gross receipts and an adjusted gross income of $406,534, upon which federal taxes in the amount of $135,618 are due and owing for 2004 before applying interest and penalties.”

He will be sentenced at a later date.

“Prosecuting individuals who willfully fail to file federal income tax returns is a vital element in maintaining public confidence in our tax system,” stated Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation in a press release. “Those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns can be assured that the government will hold accountable those who don’t.”

A telephone call was made to the office of Columbus attorney Bradley Barbin, who represented Willis. He did not immediately return the call.

A telephone call was placed to the Willis residence. No one answered the call.