UPDATE: Burbank Woman Sentenced to 3+ Years for Not Paying $3.3 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Burbank Woman Sentenced to 3+ Years for Not Paying $3.3 Million in Federal Taxes

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Burbank Woman Convicted of Not Paying Federal Taxes Burbank Woman Convicted of Not Paying Federal Taxes

UPDATE: BURBANK, WA - A Spokane judge has sentenced a woman from Burbank to more than 3 years in prison for failing to pay $3.3 million in federal payroll taxes.

39 year old Maria Townsend will also be on 3 years probation after released.

Attorneys say Townsend was the president and majority owner of Townsend Controls Inc., an electrical contractor in Pasco. 

Townsend was convicted in February on 10 counts of failing to pay $3.3 million in employment taxes to the IRS.

Townsend must also pay back the $3.3 million in restitution to the IRS plus $8,048 in attorney fees.

Court documents show she used the money to buy cars, a boat and to have a pool put in at her house. She also gave some of the money to family members and paid off personal tax obligations.

Townsend claimed she was suffering from multiple psychiatric disorders, including Bipolar Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and that she didn't know that she was doing anything wrong.

Townsend also claimed TCI's electricians were independent contractors, not employees, even though she withheld $3.3 million in taxes from their wages.

"The sentence imposed in this case reflects the seriousness of 'white collar' crime and that those accused of failing to pay over payroll taxes to the IRS will be fairly and justly held accountable for their criminal conduct," says Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Ormsby went on to say this is one of the biggest cases of this kind pending in the country and is representative of an important area of emphasis by both the IRS and the Department of Justice. 

"Holding business owners accountable who willfully evade their employment tax obligations to line their own pockets is among the Tax Division's highest priorities," says Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo. "These offenders, who not only steal from the United States, but also take advantage of honest competitors, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and like Ms. Townsend, will face incarceration and substantial financial penalties."

"Maria Townsend essentially stole not only from the government but from her own employees. IRS Criminal Investigation realizes the detrimental consequences of employment tax evasion. It results in the loss of tax revenue to the United States government and the loss of future Social Security or Medicare benefits for the employees," says IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent-in-Charge Teri Alexander.

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Previous Coverage:

A jury in Federal Court in Spokane has convicted a Burbank woman of failing to pay more than $2.6 million in payroll taxes.

Attorneys say Maria Elizabeth Townsend was the president and majority owner of Townsend Controls Inc., an electrical contractor in Pasco.

From April 2007 to Sept. 2009 Townsend took taxes out of employee wages, but didn't pay the IRS. 

Attorneys say she spent the money on vehicles or gave it to family members.

Townsend faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Sentencing is set for June 4th. 
 

 

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