Coles County business owner sentenced to six months in prison for tax fraud


Date: November 25, 2022


Urbana, IL — A Charleston, Illinois, man, Jay Edward Fisher, of the zero block of Gracies Hollow, was sentenced on November 21, 2022, to six months of imprisonment for failing to pay employment taxes to the Internal Revenue Service.

On June 7, 2021, Fisher pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Eric I. Long to collecting employment taxes from his employees, which included taxes for his employees' Social Security and Medicare payments, but then failing to turn over those taxes, or pay the employer's portion of those taxes, to the IRS. At the time of his plea, Fisher admitted that he had failed to pay those taxes from at least 2014 through 2018, as well as to file a personal federal income tax return or pay his own personal income taxes to the IRS during those years. Fisher agreed to pay full restitution to the IRS within thirty days of sentencing.

At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence establishing that Fisher was the sole owner of Financial Logic, Inc., a commercial insurance agency located in Mattoon, Illinois, and employed several individuals. Fisher failed to pay either employment taxes or personal federal income taxes from at least 2013 through 2018, totaling a tax loss of $866,838. Moreover, Fisher covered up his tax fraud by repeatedly lying to his employees during those years, falsely claiming that he had paid the taxes, and blaming the failure on the Social Security Administration. In reality, Fisher transferred over $600,000 from Financial Logic's business account to his own personal bank accounts and $300,000 from Financial Logic's savings account to a personal investment account. In 2019, after realizing that Fisher was lying to them, some of his employees turned him into the IRS. When Fisher found out, he tried to enter the IRS's voluntary disclosure program, but he was rejected because a criminal investigation was already underway.

Also at the hearing, Fisher addressed the sentencing judge, U.S. District Court Judge Colin S. Bruce. Fisher repeatedly told Judge Bruce, "It's all my fault." Fisher requested a sentence of probation, while acknowledging, "I'm ashamed." In rejecting Fisher's request for probation, Judge Bruce discussed the seriousness of Fisher's crime and noted that Fisher would carry the "disgrace" of his actions.

Judge Bruce ordered Fisher to begin serving his prison sentence on February 28, 2023. In addition to the sentence of imprisonment, Judge Bruce ordered Fisher to serve three years of supervised release following his release from custody and to pay full restitution to the IRS. Although Fisher paid most of the restitution just before the sentencing hearing, the plea agreement permits him another thirty days to pay the outstanding restitution amount of approximately $125,000.

The statutory penalties for failing to pay employment taxes are up to five years of imprisonment, three years of supervised release, full restitution, and a $10,000 fine.

The case investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations Division. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller represented the government in the prosecution.