ELLSWORTH — A Tremont fisherman will serve six months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of failing to file income tax returns for the years 2003 through 2007.
Timothy Cook, 28, pleaded guilty to the charges Jan. 21 in Hancock County Superior Court in Ellsworth. Justice Kevin Cuddy sentenced him to two years in prison with all but six months suspended. Upon his release, Mr. Cook is to serve two years probation.
Justice Cuddy also ordered Mr. Cook to make restitution for his unpaid taxes. At his sentencing, Mr. Cook paid $2,500 of those costs. He is to pay an additional $15,000 in restitution during his probation and file all future income tax returns.
Mr. Cook was ordered to begin his sentence immediately.
According to assistant attorney general Gregg Bernstein, the charges against Mr. Cook were for failure to pay state income tax. Mr. Bernstein said he is unable to comment on whether Mr. Cook will face federal charges for any alleged evasion of federal income taxes.
“We’re not able to release any federal information,” he said.
The charges against Mr. Cook were felonies because he had previously been convicted, in November 2003, of failing to file state taxes for the years 1999 through 2001, Mr. Bernstein said. At the time, Mr. Cook was fined $750, ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and to pay restitution of $8,300.
In a prepared statement regarding the case, attorney general Janet Mills said, “All contractors, including commercial fisherman, need to make sure that taxes are set aside regularly to ensure that they pay their fair share in taxes, as their neighbors do. My office will take strong action against those individuals who fail to pay their state income taxes.”
The attorney general’s office was assisted by the Maine Revenue Service Criminal Investigations Unit in the investigation.
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