Kearney nail salon owner convicted by jury for filing false tax returns


Date: April 8, 2021


Acting United States Attorney Jan Sharp announced that a federal jury in Lincoln, Nebraska, returned a guilty verdict on April 7, 2021, against Thomas W. Hird of Kearney, Nebraska, for three counts of filing a false tax return. The verdict subjects Hird to a potential prison term of up to three years on each count. Chief United States District Judge John M. Gerrard presided over the trial and set sentencing for July 14, 2021.

The evidence presented at trial established that Hird has owned and operated a nail salon business, Nails Unlimited, in Kearney, Nebraska since 2009. From around February of 2009, Hird would skim the cash and check payments of the business by cashing a majority of all customer checks received at the business and by conducting currency exchanges in which he would exchange small bills for $100 bills. Credit/Debit card transactions at the business would automatically be deposited into the business bank account, however, cash and check payments were rarely deposited into the business account. Hird willfully failed to report the cashed customer checks and currency received as part of his gross income on his yearly tax return.

The nail salon customers who testified at trial indicated that they were instructed to issue checks payable to Hird personally and not the business. The salon also had signs displayed that instructed customers to make checks payable to Hird. Hird testified at trial that he knew the bank had a policy against cashing checks made payable to his business.

The Internal Revenue Service began investigating Hird's actions sometime in 2017. In July of 2017, an IRS Special Agent interviewed Hird about his nail salon business and about his practice of cashing customer checks and exchanging customer cash payments. Hird repeatedly denied he engaged in these transactions and claimed that all customer payments were deposited into the business bank account. At trial, Hird admitted he had lied to the Special Agent.

Through the years of 2012-2016, Hird failed to report income from Nails Unlimited in the amount of $520,107. As a result, Hird's total tax due and owing for the years 2012-2016 is $134,989.

"A jury has now found Mr. Hird intentionally did not report all of his income when he filed his tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. He received checks and cash gross receipts while running a nail salon business for several years that he did not include income," said David Talcott, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in the St. Louis Field Office. "Today, a jury has convicted Mr. Hird of filing false tax returns with the IRS."

Acting U.S. Attorney Sharp said, "We are currently in tax season. The jury's verdict underscores the importance of taxpayers to truthfully report income on their tax returns."