Politicians are supposed to be leaders in their communities and set good examples for their constituents to follow. This is probably why it often sparks a scandal when a politician is accused of a felony, and the "court of public opinion" often jumps to conclusions and reaches a guilty verdict before the accused even has a chance to put forth a criminal defense.
With these issues in mind, New Jersey residents may be interested in the case of a former mayor of Dover Township (now Toms River Township), who is facing six criminal charges of tax fraud. The charges consist of three counts each of tax evasion and failing to file income tax returns.
According to authorities, the former politician accepted a total of $291,000 in payments from an insurance broker in Towson, Maryland. The broker allegedly provided services to the Toms River and Brick, New Jersey, school boards and received yearly commissions, premiums and fees in return. The allegations against the former mayor include setting up a false company to hide the money from the IRS and failing to file income tax returns in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
If the case results in a criminal conviction, the former mayor could face jail time of up to three years for the failure-to-file charges and of up to 15 years for the tax evasion counts. The federal government takes tax evasion very seriously. Unfortunately, this sometimes results in aggressive prosecution and overcharging by the prosecuting attorney, who may want to make an example of the offender.
Having a lawyer who has the knowledge and experience necessary to lead a good defense during a criminal trial is crucial to reducing or avoiding jail time, as well as mitigating other penalties that may be levied by a federal court.
Source: NJ.com, "Former Ocean County mayor accused of tax fraud," Jason Grant, July 11, 2012