Craig Cowles sentenced for evading over $250,000 in taxes


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Date: October 15, 2021


The Acting United States Attorney for the District of Vermont announced that Craig Cowles of Richmond, Vermont, was sentenced today in United States District Court in Burlington to five years of probation following his guilty plea to federal income tax evasion. Chief District Judge Geoffrey Crawford ordered that Cowles pay restitution totaling about $262,000 to the IRS for unpaid taxes. Since pleading guilty, Cowles has already paid the IRS more than $80,000 toward this restitution obligation.

In fall 2019, a federal grand jury in Rutland returned an indictment charging Cowles with five counts of tax evasion and 14 counts of structuring bank transactions to avoid currency reporting requirements. Last fall, Cowles pled guilty to one of the tax evasion counts.

According to court records, Cowles is the owner of Cowles Excavating, an earth-moving business located in Richmond. Between 2012 and 2017, Cowles generated approximately $2.8 million in gross revenue from Cowles Excavating and other businesses he operated. During that period, Cowles filed no tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service and paid no federal income taxes despite earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in net profits.

Court records also reflect that Cowles structured financial transactions to avoid federal currency reporting requirements. Under law, a financial institution must file a report with the Secretary of the Treasury whenever a customer engages in a financial transaction, such as a bank deposit or withdrawal, that involves more than $10,000 in cash. Cowles structured a number of transactions to avoid this reporting requirement. He did this by breaking down checks he received from business clients into cash amounts that were slightly under $10,000, then using additional funds from the checks to buy cashiers checks payable to himself. Cowles often converted these cashiers checks into additional cash. Federal law prohibits anyone from structuring deposits and withdrawals that are intended to circumvent the $10,000 cash reporting requirement.

The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service.

Cowles was represented by attorneys Tris Coffin and Tim Doherty. The prosecutor was Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.