Date: August 1, 2022 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Blakely H. Jenkins, Sr., of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, was sentenced today to one year and one day of imprisonment for evading taxes and committing identity theft while running his St. Johnsbury-based painting business, Blake Jenkins Painting, Inc. United States District Judge William K. Sessions III also ordered Jenkins to serve a two-year term of supervised release. In February 2022, Jenkins pleaded guilty to two counts of evasion of employment taxes and one count of identity theft. According to court records and proceedings, Jenkins evaded employment taxes from mid-2015 to mid-2020 by paying his employees "off the books" wages either in cash or in checks falsely denoted as being for non-wage purposes. Jenkins took a number of steps to execute this plan, including falsifying records, creating bogus documents, and signing another person's name without permission. Every employment tax return that Jenkins' company submitted to the Internal Revenue Service during this period contained false information that significantly underreported the amounts that Jenkins actually paid his employees. In total, Jenkins' company failed to report over $1.3 million in employee wages, resulting in over $340,000 in unpaid federal taxes. "Investigating and prosecuting white collar offenses is a top priority of the U.S. Attorney's Office," said United States Attorney Nikolas P. Kerest. "We will continue to work closely with the Criminal Division of the Internal Revenue Service and our other excellent law enforcement partners to hold accountable those who line their own pockets at the expense of others, whether by avoiding their tax obligations, collecting benefits to which they are not entitled, or defrauding victim individuals or companies." "The IRS Criminal Investigation Division takes these violations of law very seriously," said Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office. "By not reporting all wages to the IRS, hardworking employees may not have access to all of the Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Compensation they are entitled to receive. Employers have an obligation to their employees to not only accurately report all wages, but to pay over all tax withholdings. Investigating employment tax fraud is a priority for the special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation as we strive to protect the trust that individuals put in their employers to make sure their future benefits are secure." The United States was represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Cate. Jody Frey, Esq. represented the defendant.