Alabama Man Sentenced to Prison for Tax Evasion

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – An Alabama man was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison for tax evasion, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona for the Northern District of Alabama announced today. 

According to court documents and statements made in court, John P. Cooney of Jefferson County, Alabama, disclosed to the IRS in December 2011, through late-filed tax returns, that he owed approximately $780,000 to the IRS for the 2008 to 2010 tax years. Despite acknowledging he owed these taxes, Cooney never paid them. Instead, Cooney sought to conceal income he was earning by setting up a nominee corporation, GVA Advisors LLC (GVA), and arranging for payments to be made to GVA, rather than directly to him. From 2013 through 2016, Cooney deposited more than $435,000 into the GVA account, concealing the income from the IRS and evading payment of his outstanding tax liabilities. As a result of his actions, Cooney currently owes more than $1.3 million in outstanding balances, penalties, and interest to the IRS.

“Today’s sentence should send a clear message that those who execute schemes to evade payment of federal income tax will be prosecuted and could face prison time,” said U.S. Attorney Escalona.

“Mr. Cooney knowingly and willfully committed a series of affirmative acts, constituting attempts to evade the payment of his income taxes, and designed to conceal his income from the IRS,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey.  “The sentence issued today is the penalty for those actions.  Taxpayers looking to willfully evade the payment of taxes should know that they will be prosecuted for those actions.”

Cooney previously pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion on Feb. 18, 2020.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, Cooney was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $1,311,904.70 in restitution to the IRS. 

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Escalona commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Kathryn Sparks and Alexander Effendi of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Crosby, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

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