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Spicer man convicted of tax evasion

MINNEAPOLIS -- A federal jury on Thursday in Minneapolis convicted a 71-year-old Spicer man of evading federal income taxes in 2002 and 2003. Robert Goris was found guilty of two counts of tax evasion following an eight-day trial. He was indicted on April 15, 2009.

According to evidence presented at trial, Goris evaded more than $830,000 in income taxes for tax years 2002 and 2003, despite receiving income of more than $3.5 million in 2002 and income of more than $400,000 in 2003, said Jeanne Cooney, director of community relations for the U.S. District Attorney's Office.

On his 2002 tax return, Goris reported his total tax as zero and claimed a $15,000 refund, even though he knew he owed substantial tax and wasn't entitled to a refund. Then, on his 2003 tax return, Goris failed to report income of more than $300,000 and did not pay any tax on the hidden money.

Trial evidence showed how Goris developed schemes to evade taxes, including creating companies that were purportedly owned by trusts he controlled. In one such instance, Goris arranged for portions of his income to be paid to one of those companies, and from there, he transferred it to the trusts.

Then, from the trust accounts, he spent the money on himself but failed to report it as income on his tax returns.

Following Thursday's conviction, Julio LaRosa, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in St. Paul, said, "Abusive trust schemes unfairly shift the tax burden to honest American taxpayers. Today's verdict is a positive message to those complying with their tax obligations that the IRS and the U.S. Attorney's Office works diligently to identify and prosecute those who evade their taxes."

For his crimes, Goris faces a potential maximum penalty of five years in prison on each tax evasion count. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Montgomery will determine his sentence at a future date, yet to be scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigation Division. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael L. Cheever and Kimberly A. Svendsen, said Cooney.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150