Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BREAKING: Anne Arundel Councilman Daryl Jones Pleads Guilty to 5 Years of Unfiled Taxes

Here's a quick newsclip on this breaking development. The Baltimore Sun reports:
An Anne Arundel County Councilman pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to a single count of failing to file a tax return.

Councilman Daryl D. Jones, a Democrat from Severn who is serving his second four-year term on the County Council, entered the plea in Baltimore before U.S. District Court Judge Ellen Hollander.

Assistant U.S Attorney Gregory Bockin said in court that Jones failed to file both his personal and corporate tax returns for five years — from 2002 to 2007. Under a plea agreement, Jones will pay back the loss to the government pegged at $108,369.57.

When the charges were first announced in early August, Jones gave the following explanation to Hometown Annapolis:
Jones said this morning the taxes have since been paid and he was overwhelmed at the time by the prolonged illness and death of his mother.

“I was dealing with all of that situation, and I just fell short of my other obligations,” he said.

Jones, a Democrat from Severn, was elected to the County Council in 2006. He said he has now “stepped up to the plate (and) taken care of the error that I have made and moved forward.” Jones said the charges came without warning.

Jones’ income in 2005 came from work as a criminal defense attorney and from his business, Dotson’s Tavern in Glen Burnie.

He said the charges will not affect his political office, and he has hired Baltimore attorney Andy White to represent him.
Honest mistake or willful tax avoidance? Hard to say based on the news reports, but I guess we'll have to see how harsh the sentence ends up being. The Sun says we should expect to know on November 28. In the meantime, others might have some insight into whether this is a run-of-the-mill tax charge or something more serious. The coverage does indicate this is a plea to a single count, which also happens to be a misdemeanor.

Should we expect Jones to cruise through this or is that unrealistic? Early reports made it sound like the unpaid taxes were only for one year -- now it looks like five years? I don't know, that's a pretty long time not to file taxes....

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