A former Statesboro, Georgia city councilman was sentenced today to 33 months in prison for evading taxes on income from bars he co-owned.
According to court documents and statements made in court, William Britt, now of Bluffton, South Carolina, evaded taxes on income from various bars he co-owned near college campuses in Georgia. As part of the scheme, each establishment was nominally owned by a single individual. In reality, a group of business partners, including Britt, owned the bars in varying ownership percentages. Britt and the other true owners skimmed cash from the establishments and disbursed it amongst themselves in accordance with their ownership percentages without reporting that income to the IRS.
To complete the fraud scheme, Britt personally ensured that some of the nominal owners of the bars filed false tax returns. Britt also provided false information to an accountant who prepared tax returns related to some of these businesses. Specifically, Britt misrepresented the businesses’ true ownership, underreported the bars’ income, and omitted cash distributions to the owners. This conduct enabled Britt and the other true owners of the bars to file tax returns with the IRS that omitted their full income tax liabilities. As part of his guilty plea, Britt admitted to willfully underreporting his income on his 2014 individual tax return.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, Chief Judge J. Randal Hall of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida ordered Britt to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $352,404.54 in restitution to the United States.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney David H. Estes for the Southern District of Georgia made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the case.
Assistant Chief David Zisserson and Trial Attorney Casey S. Smith of the Tax Division, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, prosecuted the case.