Office of Public Affairs | Florida Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

Office of Public Affairs | Florida Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

A Florida man pleaded guilty yesterday to evading taxes on income he earned from commercial fishing in Massachusetts.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Christopher Garraty, of New Port Richey, and formerly of Newport and East Greenwich, Rhode Island, worked as a commercial fisherman and deckhand for fishing companies operating out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Despite earning substantial income working as a fisherman, Garraty did not file until 2012 any federal income tax returns for tax years 2002 through 2011. When he filed the delinquent returns, he reported that he owed a total of approximately $234,497 in taxes for those nine years. But even after reporting that he owed taxes, Garraty did not make any payments to the IRS. In addition, Garraty did not file returns for 2015 through 2018 despite earning approximately $600,000 in fishing income across those years and owing approximately $179,382 in taxes.

To thwart the IRS from assessing or collecting his outstanding taxes, Garraty regularly cashed his paychecks at the issuing bank to conceal the source and disposition of his income. Garraty did not deposit a significant portion of his cashed paychecks into his bank accounts. Moreover, when his paycheck was over $10,000, Garraty frequently cashed the paycheck at the issuing bank and then immediately made multiple cash deposits of less than $10,000 into his bank account to avoid triggering the bank’s reporting requirements. He used the cash to fund his lifestyle to further conceal his financial activity.

In total, Garraty caused a tax loss to the IRS of approximately $413,879.

Garraty is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 17 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy for the District of Massachusetts made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Matthew L. Cofer of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Wild for the District of Massachusetts are prosecuting the case.

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