In a case characterized by a blatant, elaborate plot to deceive and defraud, a Keymar, MD couple has agreed to a plea deal with the federal government, thereby subjecting themselves to the possibility of significant prison sentences and sizable fines and restitution requirements.

Shaun and Joanne Tucker are scheduled to be sentenced on November 20 for orchestrating a scheme in which their companies fraudulently acquired government contracts, pilfered from employee benefit plans and engaged in tax evasion to the tune of approximately half a million dollars.

Details of the Tuckers' fraudulent enterprises

According to information contained in the government's press release, the Tuckers stole over $30 million in total as the result of their scheme and pilfered roughly $1.6 million in benefits designated for their employees. The husband and wife team were at the helm of Intaset Technologies Corp. and Quantell Inc. during the period between 2007 and 2010, and remained actively involved in the operation of Intaset after having sold it in 2010.

From 2007 through 2013, the Tuckers, in conjunction with their chief operating officer and co-conspirator, worked to secure government contracts that had been set aside for small businesses that met specific, defined criteria which theirs did not. In obtaining these contracts, the Tuckers misrepresented key profit, revenue and other data to the federal government, gaining an unfair, fraudulent advantage over otherwise qualified small business candidates.

They also created false identities and shell businesses designed to provide misleading performance statistics to the Department of Defense. The defendants used their ill-gotten profits for personal benefit, purchasing a boat, multiple vehicles and several additions and improvements to their properties. Not only did the Tuckers spend vast sums of fraudulently generated profits on themselves, they also diverted over $1.6 million in money mandated for employee benefits plans.

The Tuckers evaded the payment of nearly $500,000 in taxes owed to the federal government.

Plea agreement may substantially mitigate penalties

If U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz accepts the proposed plea deal on November 20, the Tuckers will succeed in significantly reducing the penalties they might have otherwise faced as a result of the charges lodged against them. Without the deal, the defendants were at risk of being sentenced to upwards of 30 years' imprisonment and fines totaling well over twice what they fraudulently obtained during the course of their crimes. Should their plea agreement be approved, however, Mr. Tucker would receive a sentence of eight years' imprisonment and a financial penalty of no less than $30 million. Mrs. Tucker would be sentenced to between six and 18 months in prison and receive financial sanctions of at least $20 million.

The pair would also remain responsible for paying $1.6 million in restitution to their employees and would have to pay $492,961 in back taxes to the IRS. Forfeiture of their personal residence is also included in the agreement. While still hefty penalties, these sanctions clearly represent significant relief when compared to what the Tuckers' fate could have been in the absence of the agreement.

How a Maryland tax attorney can help in cases of suspected tax fraud

It is no secret that when it comes to identifying and pursuing those suspected of tax fraud or evasion, the Internal Revenue Service has seemingly unlimited reach and enforcement power. Agents charged with bringing delinquent or uncooperative taxpayers to justice are renowned for their willingness to leave no stone unturned in their quest for overdue or illegally withheld revenue. The consequences for those found to have defrauded the IRS can be quite severe and may include lengthy periods of incarceration and onerous financial penalties and forfeitures.