NEWARK, N.J. – A Union County, New Jersey, man made his initial court appearance today on charges of tax evasion and failing to file tax returns, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig and Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. Hubbert of the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced.
Jonathan Dean Michael, 52, of Springfield, New Jersey, was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 29, 2021, on one count of tax evasion, from 2014 through 2018, and five counts of failing to file tax returns during the same period. He appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andre M. Espinosa. He will be arraigned before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez at a date to be determined.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Michael was employed as a mechanic by a port-operating company in New Jersey. From 2014 through 2018, Michael’s gross income from all sources was over $1.6 million, including over $1.4 million that was paid to him by the port-operating company. In February 2014, Michael submitted a Form W-4, “Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate,” to his employer in which he falsely claimed to be completely exempt from federal income tax withholding. In November 2016, after the IRS instructed the port-operating company to begin withholding income taxes from Michael, Michael wrote the company and claimed that his false W-4 was correct. Despite earning gross income in each year in excess of the threshold that would require him to file individual income tax returns, Michael failed to file such tax returns with the IRS for the years 2014 through 2018.
The maximum penalty for the count of tax evasion is five years of imprisonment; the maximum penalty for failure to file tax returns is one year per count.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig and Acting Assistant Attorney General Hubbert credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Feldman Nikic of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark and by Trial Attorney Michael C. Vasiliadis of the Tax Division in Washington, D.C.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.