Owner of Great Falls plumbing businesses sentenced to prison for employment tax fraud


Date: June 25, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

GREAT FALLS — A Great Falls businessman was sentenced on June 24 to nine months in prison and ordered to pay $148,735 restitution for employment tax fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said today.

According to court documents, Thomas O'Connell owned and operated three plumbing businesses: Quality Plumbing and Heating, Orbit Plumbing and Heating, and Orbit PHC. From at least 2005 through 2016, O'Connell caused trust fund taxes to be withheld from employees' wages and then did not pay employment taxes for several quarters. Instead, he directed payments to other creditors and to his own personal expenses. The total tax loss to the IRS resulting from his conduct is more than $550,000.

O'Connell pleaded guilty on March 24 to willful failure to pay over employment taxes.

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. In addition to the sentence of imprisonment, O'Connell will serve an additional three years of supervised release.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon and Trial Attorney Mark S. Determan of the Justice Department's Tax Division prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation.