Albemarle man pleads guilty to filing false tax return


Date: April 5, 2023


Winston-Salem, NC — Michael Todd Forrest of Albemarle NC, appeared in federal court today on tax fraud charges, announced Sandra J. Hairston, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. Forrest pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return, a violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1), after an investigation revealed that he had withheld information from a tax return preparer regarding income related to his business.

According to court-filed documents, FORREST owned and operated a business known as The Forrest Fence Company, LLC located in Albemarle, North Carolina. The investigation revealed that during the years 2017-2021, Forrest routinely directed Forrest Fence customers to make checks payable to him, instead of to the business. Forrest would, in turn, cash those checks or deposit the checks into a personal bank account instead of the Forrest Fence business checking account. As part of his scheme, FORREST would conceal those checks from his tax return preparer, which resulted in a tax loss of over $200,000.

“To attempt to evade taxes by hiding income and filing false returns, is a theft from the American public. It is a felony offense that carries severe consequences,” said Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Charlotte Field Office. “The overarching principle of IRS’s enforcement strategy is simply this: We protect the integrity of the tax system by ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax.”

Sentencing is scheduled to take place on August 14, 2023, at 9:30 a.m. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, courtroom number 2, before United States District Court Thomas D. Schroeder. At sentencing, Forrest faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison, a period of supervised release of up to one year, and monetary penalties.

Sandra J. Hairston, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina made the announcement after United States District Judge Thomas D Schroeder accepted the plea. IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Waid is prosecuting the case.