TYLER, Texas – A Tyler, Texas attorney pleaded guilty today to federal employment tax violations announced Eastern District of Texas Acting United States Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.
John Bennett White IV, 60, pleaded guilty to an information charging him failure to pay employment taxes today before U.S. Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell.
“Mr. White withheld taxes from his employees’ paychecks but repeatedly failed to turn those funds over to the IRS,” said Acting United States Attorney Nicholas Ganjei. “White instead chose to pocket his employees’ tax payments to fund his lifestyle. This sort of conduct harms every taxpayer, not only because of the lost public revenue, but also because of the expense of recovering the lost funds from individuals such as White.”
According to court documents and statements made in court, White was an attorney and firm manager for a Tyler law firm, J. Bennett White, P.C., where White had significant control over the finances of the firm and had a duty to account for and pay over the employment taxes on behalf of the firm’s employees to the IRS.
Between the second quarter of 2007 and the fourth quarter of 2015, White made sporadic and partial efforts to pay his firm’s employment tax liabilities. For multiple quarters during the same period White caused employment taxes to be withheld from the law firm’s employees’ wages, but willfully failed to fully pay those trust fund taxes of to the IRS. White filed Forms 941 reporting the law firm’s employment taxes for each of these quarters. White paid the full amount owed the IRS for 24 of those 38 quarters. White made partial payments on 10 occasions and no payment for seven quarters. In total, White caused a tax loss of over $300,000. Instead of paying employment taxes, White paid other creditors and his own personal expenses.
Under federal statutes, White faces up to five years in federal prison at sentencing. The statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case is being investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Locker.