Landscaping business owner pleads guilty to tax evasion after not filing and paying taxes for nine years


Date: March 24, 2023


HOT SPRINGS — A Hot Springs man and owner of a landscaping business pleaded guilty today to evading more than $507,000 in federal income taxes. U.S. District Chief Judge Susan O. Hickey presided over the plea hearing, in which Jerry Christopher Wade waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a criminal information charging him with tax evasion.

According to court documents, from 2011 through 2019, Wade owned and operated Four Seasons Landscaping, located in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Wade started Four Seasons Landscaping approximately 12 years ago and is 100% owner. The landscaping business was Wade's only source of income. Despite earning income each year, Wade did not timely file federal income tax returns for the years 2011 through 2019. Wade admitted to federal agents he knew he was required file his tax returns. Wade told agents he did not keep business records, including records documenting income or expenses. Wade further admitted he did not issue IRS Forms W-2 or 1099 to his workers or to himself and he did not keep payroll records for the wages paid to himself or his workers.

During the years under investigation, Wade received checks from customers (income) totaling $2,537,771.86 from 2011 through 2019. Wade did not deposit all of these checks into his bank accounts, and he received cash back from the bank totaling $878,983.48 when he negotiated the checks.

As part of his plea, Wade admitted he intentionally attempted to evade and defeat his income tax responsibilities by taking the following actions, amount others: conducting business transactions in cash, paying employees without reporting said payments to the IRS, cashing customer checks at his financial institution, and asking customers to write multiple checks in amounts of less than $10,000 to avoid bank reporting requirements.

In total, Wade did not pay federal income taxes of $507,554.00 to the IRS, and also admitted that he failed to file income taxes with the state of Arkansas. Wade agreed to pay restitution, including penalties and interest, to both the U.S. Treasury and Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration.

Wade is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, monetary penalties, and restitution. The U.S. District Judge will determine his sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes of the Western District of Arkansas made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mohlhenrich is prosecuting the case for the United States.