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Code Blue for Ambulance Co.’s Former Owner Who Gets 6 Years For Tax Evasion

Code Blue for Ambulance Co.’s Former Owner Who Gets 6 Years For Tax Evasion

According to Law360, the former owner of an ambulance company was sentenced to more than six (6) years in federal prison for failing to pay employment taxes to the federal government and obstructing the Internal Revenue Service as it tried to collect, according to Virginia federal court documents.

James C. Jones Jr., ex-owner of Lifeline Ambulance Service Inc., was sentenced on May 7, 2024 to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay $395,000 in restitution to the IRS, according to a court record of the sentencing hearing. Though he has maintained his innocence, Jones was found guilty by a jury in November of evading employment taxes for 2008 and 2009, filing false individual tax returns for 2013 to 2018, and obstructing the IRS.

As we mentioned throughout our blog, the IRS has been, for the laast  several years, zealously prosecuting and convicting employers for payroll tax violations.

Federal prosecutors had asked the court for the 78-month sentence, at the very top of Jones' recommended sentencing guidelines, calling him "a multimillionaire who has not paid one cent in taxes to the United States government in well over a decade," according to a sentencing memo.

"Despite being obligated by law to withhold taxes from his employees' paychecks and turn them over to the IRS in a timely fashion, Jones refused to do so, all the while amassing a portfolio of luxurious Caribbean real estate and an enviable collection of classic cars for himself," prosecutors said in the memo.

For years, Jones thwarted the IRS' efforts to collect his individual taxes and employee withholdings, sometimes by giving the agency fraudulent documents on which he had forged the signatures of people he knew, prosecutors said. Jones also failed to disclose his assets, which included high-value classic cars and five luxury apartments on St. Maarten, prosecutors said. Overall, he caused a tax loss of nearly $1.5 million, prosecutors said.

At trial, Jones lied on the stand about his ownership of the Caribbean apartments, telling "an epic tale of a dead man being the true owner" and claiming he only took care of the properties "out of the goodness of his heart," prosecutors said.

"Mr. Jones' counsel asserts that his behavior demonstrates he lives in a world populated largely by his own beliefs that have little bearing on reality."

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Read more at: Tax Times blog

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