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Cumberland County Brothers Guilty Of Tax Evasion

Cumberland County Brothers Guilty Of Tax Evasion

Bill Stephens

April 1st, 2016

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NEWS RELEASE

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Two brothers from Cumberland County, Kentucky, pled guilty in United States District Court on Wednesday, before U.S. District Judge Greg N. Stivers, to separate, and multiple charges of tax evasion and failure to file tax returns, relating to the concealment of income from the sale of stolen copper wire, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

Christopher Chad Pruitt, 39, and Jimmy Lee Pruitt, 47, admitted in court yesterday to evading federal income taxes on the illegally obtained income.  The brothers’ scheme involved stealing copper wire from Belden, Inc., located in Wayne County, Kentucky, and then selling the stolen copper wire to Bowling Green Recycling (BGR), located in Warren County, Kentucky. Jimmy Pruitt, a manager at Belden, would arrange for the theft of the copper wire through the use of false invoices. BGR would pay the brothers with checks. The brothers would then convert the BGR checks into cashier’s checks made payable to themselves and deposit the cashier checks into their personal bank accounts or tender the cashier’s checks for cash.

The Pruitts admitted to concealing the illegal income from the Internal Revenue Service. Jimmy Pruitt filed a joint income tax return for himself and his spouse each year from 2009 through 2013, but never reported any of the income received from the stolen copper wire. According to the plea agreement, Jimmy Pruitt acknowledged owing $198,547 to the IRS, exclusive of penalties and interest, prior to sentencing. Further, Jimmy Pruitt admitted owing an additional tax due for the tax years of 2007 and 2008 of $28,595 bringing his total tax liability to $227,142.

In a separate plea agreement, Christopher Pruitt admitted to participating in the scheme with his brother Jimmy Pruitt to steal copper wire from Belden, Inc. and sell the stolen copper wire to BGR. Christopher Pruitt did not file an individual income tax return in 2009 or 2010; he filed an individual income tax return each year from 2011 through 2013, but never reported any of the income received from the stolen copper wire. According to the plea agreement, Christopher Pruitt acknowledges owing $94,030 to the IRS, exclusive of penalties and interest, prior to sentencing. Further, Christopher Pruitt admitted owing an additional tax due for the tax years of 2007 and 2008 of $6,647 bringing his total tax liability to $100,677.

Jimmy Pruitt faces up to 25 years in prison, a combined maximum fine of $500,000, and a one-year term of supervised release.

Christopher Pruitt faces up to 17 years in prison, a combined maximum fine of $350,000, and a one-year term of supervised release.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 7, in Bowling Green, before Judge Stivers.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nute Bonner and is being investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation.

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